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Byron Reed

Biography

Born in Darien, Genesee County, New York. Moved to Wisconsin Territory in 1842. Worked as telegraph operator in Ohio. Moved to Omaha, Nebraska, November 10, 1855, and opened a real estate office. Married Mary Melissa Perkins in April 1862. They had two children.

Elected city clerk of Omaha in 1860, elected councilman in 1871 and city council president in 1872. He was a corresponding member of the ANS. President Harrison appointed him to serve on the Assay Commission of 1890. Reed was a member of the Masons. He donated land to the city of Omaha for the free public library building. In 1875 he built a home that would later be the first Father Flanagan home in "Boys Town." He died in Omaha. The value of his estate was estimated to be $2,000,000.

He purchased the Parmelee 1804 dollar for $570 in 1890. He donated his collection to the Omaha Library. In 1903 the collection included 6395 coins, 474 patterns, 2136 U.S. notes, 607 Confederate bills and 1280 medals.

On January 2, 1930, an attempt was made to break into the library and steal a few valuable coins from the collection. As the breakin was in progress, the alarms sounded, police arrived and Frank Collins was arrested. Collins, 64 years old, was quoted as saying, "I think I could have lived the rest of my life on the proceeds from the sale of that collection."

Because of security concerns and lack of funds, the collections was stored away from public access for many years. The collection is now displayed at the Western Heritage Museum in Omaha.

obit: AJN 26 Jul 1891 pages 23-24; profile: CW 11/28/90

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies

 

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