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The E-Sylum (3/28/2010)

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The Citizen's Voice published an article this week interviewing longtime numismatic columnist (and E-Sylum reader) Ed Reiter. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

Ed Reiter Scrounging beneath couch cushions doesn't suit Ed Reiter.

No, his hobby of coin collecting was a humble pursuit, a way to handle metallic pieces of history with their tale of how they were designed and struck by mints. The farthest the 72 year old ever went in hunting for rare pieces of spare change was cashing $25 of his paycheck to mine rolls of change for his quarry.

Reiter may have been a lightweight to his peers in Numismatics, as the hobby is officially known, but he found another way of holding their attention. For 40 years, the journalist has quietly documented and commented on all matters tied to coin collecting as a newspaper columnist whose insights earned him weekly spaces in The Asbury Park Press, The Bergen Record in New Jersey along with The New York Times.

These days, the Nanticoke resident pens a modest monthly column in COINage, a magazine dedicated to topics such as reviling the use of manganese in the Sacagawea gold dollar.

"What I try to do is write for the reader who doesn't even collect coins," Reiter said. "Everybody has an interest in money. There's no point in getting so technical that you turn 90 percent of people off rather than bringing them into the subject."

Selling people on taking an interest in the loose change jangling in their pockets started in 1973, when Reiter approached an editor at the Park Press with the idea of column. There was one for gardening, why not coins? Over six years, he went to local meetings of coin-collecting clubs and wrote pieces he thought received some passing attention.

"It was journalism first and coins second," he said. "Now, it's both."

In one column, he lambasted a new design on the back of the cent piece, and in his latest considers plans to honor national parks on the reverse sides of quarters to be ludicrous. How are you going to represent an entire expanse of land on a canvas so small, he wonders.

"I've become sort of a grouchy old man in the eyes of some readers and the U.S. Mint," he said. "Theoretically, since I write for a hobby magazine I should be upbeat, but I still think it's my duty to say what I think."

And he still loves Buffalo Nickels and the Liberty Quarter, showing a Lady Liberty wielding a sword and shield to ward off foreign enemies who would threaten U.S. isolationism on the eve of World War I.

To read the complete article, see: Nanticoke man combines love of writing, coins (

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