Mr. William R. Higgins Jr. grew up in Clay and Dickinson Counties and served as Mayor of Okoboji for fourteen years, from 1960 to 1974. A collector since his early youth, for thirty years he collected crowns of the world. When his collection was sold in three complete auctions in 1973 and 1974, it was the largest such collection in private hands in the world. Over 7,000 different silver dollar size coins were sold at auction. The proceeds of these sales made this museum possible.
Bill Higgins developed many lasting friendships through the years, one of the most enduring of which was with Ronald Reagan that spanned nearly 60 years. He became acquainted with Reagan, then an announcer at WHO radio, while attending Drake University in the early 1930s, where friends knew them as “Spook” and “Dutch”. Fifty years later, President Reagan arranged for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to loan one of their historic antique spider currency printing presses for display at the Higgins Museum.