Jeff Garrett Biography
Posted on 2/3/2011
Jeff Garrett began his coin collecting the all-American way, with Lincoln cents. In 1969, a family friend gave him a Lincoln cent board. From that time, coins became the focus of his life.
While growing up in the Tampa Bay area in Clearwater, Florida, Jeff became very active in several local clubs, serving as a junior officer of the Clearwater Coin Club in the 1970s. He was mentored at an early age by many of the area dealers, among them Ed French and Jeff Means. Jeff Garrett attended his first American Numismatic Association (ANA) convention at the 1974 Miami convention with Ed French and has not missed one since.
He has been a member of the ANA for over 35 years with life membership number 3124. At the age of 17, Garrett was offered a position with Florida Coin Exchange, one of the dominant firms of the day.
Several years later, Jeff organized the Bluegrass Coin Club in Lexington, Kentucky. Because local coin clubs were so important in Jeff's early life, he felt it would be important to foster the same atmosphere of enthusiastic collectors that he enjoyed as a youth.
Today, Garrett describes his expertise as being a "dealer's dealer." With a network of professionals he has established over 35 years, he helps with financing, research, and the sale of acquisitions. Over the course of his career, Garrett has handled nearly every United States rarity. During the American Numismatic Convention in 2003, Garrett was one of the experts called upon to authenticate the long-lost 1913 Liberty Nickel. Ten years later, Garrett and another partner purchased the coin at auction for over $3 million.
In 2009, Garrett ran successfully for a seat on the board of governors for the ANA, and recently completed his term as president of the organization. The ANA is the largest numismatic organization in the world with over 25,000 members.
Another important aspect of his career is his membership in the Professional Numismatists Guild, to which he has belonged since 1982. Garrett has recently been president of the prestigious organization. In 2003, he was given the Abe Kosoff Founders Award by the PNG, that organization's highest honor for work promoting the hobby and organization. In 2015, Jeff was awarded the PNG Lifetime Achievement Award for his “tireless efforts promoting numismatics.”
Although he spends most of his time buying and selling coins, Garrett enjoys research and the study of rare coins. Jeff has authored many of the most popular numismatic references published in the last decade. This includes the award-winning "100 Greatest U.S. Coins" and the "Encyclopedia of United States Gold Coinage." The encyclopedia was published in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution.
Jeff is also an important part of the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Department and serves as consultant to the museum on funding, exhibits, conservation and research. Thanks to Jeff’s and many others' efforts, rare coins are once again on exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History. Recently, Jeff was asked to serve as a Board Member of the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Other numismatic works include the "Redbook of Auction Records" series, "United States Coinage - A Study by Type," "Gold - Everything You Need to Buy and Sell Today," "100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins" and "1849: The Philadelphia Mint Strikes Gold." Jeff Garrett currently serves as valuations editor for the "Guide Book of United States Coins" (Redbook), the leading numismatic publication in the world. He finalizes the prices each year that are included in the Redbook.
Living in Lexington, Kentucky, he enjoys golf, travel and spending time with his family: his wife Mary Lynn, their daughter Morgan, and their son Benjamin, who also works in the numismatic business.