Collection open to all researchers.
John Reilly, Jr. papers, 1883-1935, Archives, American Numismatic Society.
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John Reilly, Jr. (1876-1931) began his career as an engineer, but his love of coin collecting became his primary interest, and he would eventually amass the largest collection of Far Eastern coins in the world. After becoming a member in 1910, he played an active role in the American Numismatic Society, serving as council member (1914-1931), treasurer (1915-1924), and governor (1916-1924). The son of a U.S. representative from Pennsylvania, Reilly was born in Philadelphia and was a graduate of Princeton (1898), where he went on to receive master of science (1899) and electrical engineering (1901) degrees. His interest in Far Eastern coin collecting was greatly influenced by the numismatist collector and scholar Henry A. Ramsden, whom he first met on a trip to Japan in 1909, the same year he acquired a collection of Japanese coins from Neil Gordon Munro. Ramsden was a business partner with Japanese coin dealer Jun Kobayagawa of Yokohama. He was also Kobayagawa’s brother in law. After Ramsden’s death in 1915, Reilly purchased his collection. Reilly resigned as treasurer and left for China in 1925, eventually returning to New York City, where he died. His collections had been housed in the Society’s headquarters for about fifteen years before his death. In 1938, his daughter Frances formally presented the collection to the Society as a gift. The Society maintained a Reilly Room for decades where his collections were shown.
Contains correspondence (1911-1929) relating to the collecting of Far Eastern coins, particularly from China and Japan. Other topics include his investments and property holdings, the carrying out of American Numismatic Society business, and personal matters such as vacation planning and maintaining New York City club memberships. There are letters and other materials relating to the Japanese coin dealer Jun Kobayagawa and Henry A. Ramsden and efforts to buy Ramsden’s collection after his death; letters to and from American Numismatic Society curator Howland Wood, who worked closely with Reilly; two copying books containing copies of letters sent by Reilly (1911-1916); personal correspondence from his mother and his sister Marion Reilly, dean of Bryn Mawr College; a notebook with detailed notes about Ramsden, which mentions the Munro collection and coins of the Far East (1910s); inventories of Ramsden’s coins (circa 1910s); 0.5 cubic feet of numbered rubbings from Ramsden’s collection; a notebook containing notes on the Chinese holdings of the American Numismatic Society; a notebook with the name Friedrich C. Jensen of Hamburg, Germany, that is labeled “duplicates” and contains a list with Chinese characters; an album of photographs of the Bombay branch of the British Royal Mint; two handwritten catalogs of Chinese coins by Howland Wood with the titles Manuscript of Sen and Index to Sen; glass and film negatives and photographs of coins, knife coins, plaques, and other materials; notebooks containing lecture notes from Reilly’s time as a student at Princeton, including one from a photography course containing notes and film negatives of unidentified buildings (1895-1897); a manuscript coin catalog from A.H. Campbell listing coins deposited first in Mechanic’s National Bank and then in Bryn Mawr Trust (1893); various notes, drawings, and lists of coins. Also present is a small set of Chinese documents, including two pieces of Qing paper money, a broadside (bulletin number 6) issued by the provincial military governor Feng Guozhang (Feng Kuo-chang) and the governor Qi Yaolin of Jiangsu province regarding the issuance of three new coins (May 25, 1917); a coin case index belonging to R.A. de Villard of Shanghai (1896); and a copy of the first issue of the newspaper The Chinese American (1883), which was published in New York City by the journalist and activist Wong Chin Foo (alternately spelled Wong Ching Foo and Wang Qinfu).
Notebook used by John Reilly, Jr., to take notes for an astronomy class and camera club as a student at Princeton University (1895-1896). Lecturers noted are George J. Magee, Henry B. Cornwall, and William Libbey. The notebook includes a list of photographic film negatives (also found in the collection) taken at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago that are rated good, fair, and poor.
A group of 59 photographic film negatives taken of the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. The negatives measure approximately 3.75 x 4.75 in. and were likely taken using a Kodak #4 camera. Eight of the images are displayed.