Bryan Kent Lees, President of Collector's Edge Minerals, Inc., was born in Decatur, Illinois on August 31, 1957, the son of Thelma and Albert Lees, an industrial engineer. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan and was already collecting minerals at the tender age of 2, from driveways in his neighborhood. As a 12-year-old collector he frequented the Cranbrook Institute and enjoyed the friendly support and advice of members of the Michigan Mineralogical Society. Bryan's interest in mineralogy and geology led him to attended the Colorado School of Mines, and to get out in the field frequently where he could collect specimens. He had already begun dealing in minerals under the name of Collector's Edge Minerals in 1984, before graduating in 1985 with a B.S. degree in Geological Engineering.
Bryan had met his future wife, Kathryn Lenstrom while still a student in Golden; she graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1988 with a degree in Engineering Mathematics, and then gained her credentials as a Certified Public Accountant. They were married in 1985, and have worked closely as business partners ever since, with Kathryn serving as controller of Collector's Edge Minerals, Inc.
As CEO of Collector's Edge Minerals, Inc. and its specimen-mining spin-off, the Colorado Calumet Company, Inc., Bryan has traveled every continent of the world except Australia and Antarctica in search of fine specimens and promising mining properties. Bryan's first Tucson Show as a dealer was in 1984, and since that time Collector's Edge Minerals has been a regular at major shows across the country and in Munich, Germany. He has mounted displays of beautiful specimens at many shows, and also at the Colorado School of Mines, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Pacific Mineral Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the National Mining Hall of Fame Museum in Leadville, Colorado.
Bryan's company has been extraordinarily active in specimen mining at localities such as the Sweet Home mine (his most famous success), the Camp Bird mine, Mt. Antero, Book Cliffs and Stoneham in Colorado; the Colorado Quartz mine and the Benitoite Gem mine in California; the Red Cloud and North Geronimo mines in Arizona; the Twin Creeks mine in Nevada; Elk Creek in South Dakota; Le Gran Sabana in Venezuela; and the mile 72 jeremejevite locality in Nambia, not to mention numerous important localities in China. In the process he has pioneered a number of inovative specimen extraction tools, techniques and devices, and has created what is probably the world's most advanced specimen preparation laboratory.
He has handled numerous ultra-fine world-class specimens such as the Alma King and the Sno-Cone rhodochrosites from the Sweet Home mine, the Dragon gold from the Colorado Quartz mine, spectacular crystallized gold specimens from the Mockingbird mine, incredible aquamarines from Mount Antero, the Wayne State copper specimen, the cream of the Martin Zinn collection, the Brumado novacekite and many others. Since 1985 the Collector's Edge labels have retained the same address and design; two die variations exist for the stamping of the gold foil on the small specimen illustration, but both varieties appear to have been used simultaneously, and are not useful for dating labels. Often, however, a date is present on the back, or the date of discovery of the particular specimen is known, which aids in dating specimens.
In 1998 Bryan received the Friends of Mineralogy Author of the Year Award, and also the prestigious Carnegie Mineralogical Award; and in 2003 he was presented with the Colorado School of Mines Medal. His published articles include "New Explorations at the Stoneham, Colorado Barite Locality" (1990), "Gem Rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home Mine, Colorado" (1997), "Neu Amazonite Aus Colorado" (1998), "The Sweet Home Mine" special issue of the Mineralogical Record (1998), and "Orpiment from the Twin Creeks mine, Humboldt County, Nevada" (2000).
Bryan sold his personal collection of worldwide specimens in 1996, in order to concentrate exclusively on the minerals of Colorado; his world-class Colorado collection currently numbers around 1,500 specimens, including superb examples from the Sweet Home mine, the Stoneham barite locality, Mount Antero, Silverton, Pikes Peak and various gold localities around the state. He also collects wine, mining memorabilia, and general 19th century antiques. Bryan's company website is www.CollectorsEdge.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2014)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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