Born in New York City. Attended College of the City of New York. Married to Josephine Betts. They had a daughter. He served as principal of the school in Lyndhurst, Long Island. He worked in the New York Custom House for 30 years. It was said that, "he knew everything about money except how to acquire it."
Served as first vice president of ANA for three years 1901 to 1904. Elected 6th ANA President October 15, 1904, and served until September 4, 1907. Frey and his good friend Howland Wood wrote the new constitution and bylaws for the ANA. Editor of The Numismatist in 1911. He resigned because he felt he was not properly supported by the ANA. He was succeeded by Edgar Adams.
He assembled topical collections of coins relating to elephants, tobacconists, the theater and Shakespeare. He had an extensive numismatic library and believed that for every dollar spent on coins, a dollar should be spent on references. He also collected stamps.
Author of A Dictionary of Sobriquets and Nicknames in 1888. In 1914 the ANS published The Dated European Coinage Prior to 1501. It was a pioneering effort in an almost unknown area of numismatics. Author of Dictionary of Numismatic Names in 1917, reprinted in 1947. Author of Tokens and Medals Relating to Numismatists and Coin Dealers. He was secretary of the Shakespeare Society for 30 years.
Frey was co-founder of the New York Numismatic Club in 1908; first vice president 1908 to 1921; and president 1919 to 1921. The club honored Frey with a medal in 1924. Dies were by J. M. Swanson. Twelve silver medals and 29 or 30 bronze medals were struck by the Medallic Art Company. Mr. Frey received the cancelled die and threw it into the East River. There was also a vice presidential medal struck in 1917. It was produced in a variety of metals; 5 in silver, 5 in copper bronze, 1 in copper, 5 in aluminum, 5 in brass and 5 in leather. He received the Archer Huntington Silver Medal from the ANS in 1925. He died in New York City. In 1972 he was elected to the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame.
obit: NUM 39 Apr 1926 pages 184-185
bio: WWWA-4; NUM 64 Mar 1951 pages 269-270; NUM 74 Jul 1961 pages 920-922 profile: NUM 93 May 1980 pages 1062-1068