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John Work Garrett, 1872-1942

John Garrett comes from a notable Baltimore family that has resided in the city since 1801. He had a long and distinguished career as a diplomat commencing in 1901 with an appointment to the US diplomatic service in the Hague. He continued his diplomatic work at various European posts throughout World War I. In 1918, he was chairman of a diplomatic mission in Bern, Switzerland to negotiate a prisoner of war exchange with Germany. His wife, Alice Garrett, was active with humanitarian efforts in Europe during the war that lead to a life-long friendship with the author Edith Wharton. Wharton had been involved with relief efforts in Paris. Garrett’s diplomatic career was crowned by his appointment as the US Ambassador to Italy from 1929-1933.

Upon retirement from diplomatic life, Garrett and his wife returned to Baltimore and their home at Evergreen House to pursue their interests and patronage of the arts. Due to a crippling accident in childhood that restricted his physical activities, Garrett was encouraged by his parents to engage in the pursuit of activities such as reading, coin collecting, and the study of art. These pursuits became a life long passion and lead to the formation of fabulous collections of rare books, coins, and art. John Garrett acquired a substantial collection of coins from his father and purchased his brother’s share of the collection giving him a good start. He began enlarging the collection in the 1920’s and was purchasing coins both privately and at auction from the leading dealers of the day both in American and Europe. His interests spanned Ancient, American, European, and Asian coinage and acquired remarkable coins in all these fields. The Garrett’s Baltimore home at Evergreen House along with his coin and other collections were bequeathed to Johns Hopkins University in 1941. The University sold the ancient coins in three sales held in 1984 and 1985. They were sold in joint sales held by Numismatic Fine Arts of Beverly Hills and Bank Leu of Zurich. (See: extensive biography by Catherine Lorber in The Garrett Collection, Part 1, Auction Beverly Hills, May 16-18, 1984, pp. 12-59.)

(1 coin)
Phoenicia, Sidon, Elagabalus, 218-222, Ex: Garrett

AE 25, 10.46g.  Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Elagabalus to right.  Rev. Europa on bull to right.  BMC 229-230.  Rouvier 1504.  Attractive brown patina.  Rare in this high quality and with an important pedigree.

Ex: Garrett collection Part 1, Numismatic Fine Arts and Bank Leu, Beverly Hills, May 16, 1984, lot 850, purchased from Wayte Raymond on October 1, 1923. (for bio see:
Ex: CNG, Auction 93, May 22, 2013, lot 997


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Extremely Fine/good Very Fine $2,500.

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