1867 - 1931
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.