Reese Palley

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Reese Palley
Reese Palley in 2010
Reese Palley

(1922-01-26)26 January 1922
Died3 June 2015(2015-06-03) (aged 93)
Occupation(s)Art dealer, entrepreneur, author, sailor

Reese Palley (26 January 1922 – 3 June 2015) was an entrepreneur,[1] gallerist, art dealer, author, and sailor.

Merchant to the Rich
Reese at entrance to 1911 with Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, circa 1960


Art gallerist and real estate dealings[edit]

In 1957 he opened a gallery outside the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, selling Edward Marshall Boehm's porcelain figures of animals. From 1959 to 1979, he owned and operated Objet d'Art Galleries. In San Francisco, Palley restored the V.C. Morris Gift Shop at 140 Maiden Lane, the only example of a completed Frank Lloyd Wright building in San Francisco.[2][non-primary source needed]

In 1976, Palley and a partner purchased the Marlborough-Blenheim for $6 million.[3] They later rented it to Bally Manufacturing.[3][4]

NJ Lottery Commission ethics violations[edit]

In 1983, Palley was suspended as chairman of the New Jersey Lottery commission by Governor Thomas Kean after he was charged with falsifying documents in an attempt thwart an ethics investigation into his conflict of interest. The ethics committee found that Palley sought money from a company bidding on a contract for the Lottery Commission. He pled guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to fabricate evidence in 1985.[5][6][7][8]

Lorenzo de Medici Painting[edit]

He once[when?] purchased a painting for $2,600 that turned out to be one of the five lost paintings by Raphael, this one of Lorenzo de Medici.[9] Believing the work to be a replica, Palley sold the artwork for $6,000 in 1964.[9] After Palley sold the item, it was later authenticated as an original and auctioned at Christie's by a subsequent owner for $37.27 million in 2007.[10]


Palley with his wife, Marilyn Arnold Palley, created the Palley Index of Danish Furniture, 1900–2000 (now called the Furnitureindex), a compilation of over 12,000 works of Danish furniture of the 20th and 21st centuries.[11]

Writing and alleged activities[edit]

In his book Unlikely Passages, he made claims to many alleged[12] feats, including starting an airline company, starting a mushroom farm in caves, opening a sewing machine needle factory in Russia, smuggling a sought-after Torah out of Odessa, escaping Ethiopian gunboats on the Red Sea, and discussing ideas to run an island government with Tristan Jones.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Morrison, John (15 June 2015). "Reese Palley, 93 flamboyant Atlantic City art dealer". Philadelphia Daily News.
  2. ^ Zimbardo, Tanya (29 September 2012). "Receipt of Delivery". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Mansfield, Stephanie (29 May 1978). "Palley, 'Mr. Atlantic City'". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  4. ^ Janson, Donald (11 June 1977). "Bally to Lease, Not Buy, the Marlborough‐Blenheim for Casino Site (Published 1977)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  5. ^ Writer, MARTIN DEANGELIS, Staff (5 June 2015). "Atlantic City-born adventurer Reese Palley dies". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 17 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "JERSEY LOTTERY OFFICIAL SUSPENDED (Published 1983)". The New York Times. 11 May 1983. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  7. ^ "LOTTERY PANEL CHIEF IN JERSEY IS CHARGED WITH ALTERING DATA (Published 1983)". The New York Times. Associated Press. 30 April 1983. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  8. ^ Upi (20 March 1985). "THE REGION; Ex-Lottery Chief Pleads Guilty (Published 1985)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b Knox, Sanka (20 October 1971). "'Discovered' Raphael: Some Here Sold It (Published 1971)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Christies lotfinder Lorenzo de' Medici". Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Furnitureindex". Designmuseum Danmark (in Danish). Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Pioneering Soho Dealer Reese Palley Has Died". artnet News. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2020.

External links[edit]