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Million-Dollar Piece of Baltimore History Set for March Inner Harbor Auction: The Garrett 1804 Dollar is Coming Back for Auction
Published on February 21, 2020
The famous 1804 Dollar was once owned by Garrett Family and Johns Hopkins University will be sold in conjunction with the Whitman Expo in Baltimore this March.
Santa Ana, CA -- A rare 1804 silver dollar [link], the most famous prize in coin collecting, will be sold in Baltimore on March 20, at an auction conducted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries of Santa Ana, California. One of just 15 known to exist, the auction house expects the coin to bring between $1.2 and $1.5 million. When it was auctioned on behalf of Johns Hopkins University in 1980, it became the most valuable silver coin in the world. It was acquired by JHU by bequest from the Garrett Family, who first bought the coin in 1883.
Though dated 1804, the Garrett specimen of this renowned rarity was struck in secret at the Philadelphia Mint sometime between the 1850s and early 1870s, as coin collectors realized how rare 1804-dated silver dollars were and the U.S. Mint sought to cash in. The original 1804 dollars were struck in 1834, intended as diplomatic gifts to Asian monarchs, produced as part of special presentation sets of American coins. Due to a misunderstanding of mint records, which indicated that the last silver dollars were struck in 1804, American government officials produced new silver dollars with the 1804 date. The last silver dollars before 1834 were coined in 1804 but bore the date 1803.
As American coin collectors realized how rare 1804-dated silver dollars were, they became legendary trophies in the world of numismatics, setting new price records at each auction. T. Harrison Garrett, the Baltimore railroad magnate who was one of the leading coin collectors in America before his death in 1888, acquired the coin in a Philadelphia auction in 1883. The Garrett Collection was given to JHU in 1942, then sold in a series of auctions from 1976 to 1981 by the predecessor firms of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.
“The 1804 dollar is known as the King of American Coins for good reason,” said Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “We’ve been fortunate to sell nearly every privately-owned specimen since our firm’s founding in 1935. Every time one crosses the auction block it makes for a headline-grabbing event.”
Stack’s Bowers Galleries has conducted auctions in Baltimore for more than a quarter of a century, most recently in conjunction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo. The firm’s upcoming Spring Expo auction is scheduled for the Baltimore Convention Center, March 18-20, 2020. The auction in its entirety can be found online at StacksBowers.com. For more information about the auction contact Christine Karstedt at CKarstedt@stacksbowers.com.
About Stack's Bowers Galleries
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.
Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded Specimen-66 (PCGS) that realized over $10 million, part of their sale of the famed Cardinal Collection. The company is headquartered in Santa Ana, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, and Paris. Stack's Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April and August Hong Kong Auctions.
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