The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 8, February 24, 2019, Article 9


Regarding the 1937 REEDed edge cent and nickel produced by dealer Ira Reed, Editor Greg Burns provided this article by Sol Taylor from the Winter 2018 issue of The California Numismatist. Thanks! Great background info. -Editor

The Ira Reed Coins
by Dr. Sol Taylor

At the ANA convention in New York in 1976, dealer Abe Kosoff showed me a very unusual item. It was a small thick card about 25% smaller than a business card and there were two coins in the card visible from either side. One was a BU 1937 cent and the other a BU 1937 buffalo nickel What made this pair unusual was that they were both reeded! I examined the coins closely with my 10x loupe and sure enough the reeding was exactly what I'd expect on US minted coins- except the US Mint never reeded cents or nickels. In fact the reeding was much more like that of a half dollar-much larger than one would expect on these sized coins.

Kosoff explained that a fellow dealer named Ira Reed from Philadelphia had made a small number of these special "business cards" perhaps as few as 40 and probably less than 100. The date 1937 was probably chosen as the year Reed opened his coin business. They were available at the 1941 ANA convention and were given free to selected dealers and $4-$5 each to the public.

The name Ira Reed appeared at the top and Philadelphia below. I don't recall anything imprinted on the back of the card. The next time I saw such a two- coin card was at the 1995 Long Beach coin show and the dealer was asking $1,200. The dealer was unclear as to whether this was a US Mint product. I told him what I knew about this odd "business card".

I mentioned this to the late buffalo nickel expert Len Ratzman and he never heard of it (i.e. a US minted reeded 1937 buffalo nickel). Where are they now? At least one set has been slabbed by SEGS. And there are occasional mentions on the Internet about folks buying or selling a set here or there.

1937 REEDed edge cent and nickel

Dave Bowers offers this from his 2008 Guide Book of Lincoln Cents published by Whitman. Thanks! -Editor

*1937 Lincoln Cent
Circulation mintage: 309,170,000
Proof Mintage: 9,320

Key to Collecting: Common in any and all grades desired. • Striking and Sharpness: Full Details coins are plentiful.

Proofs: These are readily available in proportion to the number minted. Many have been dipped, then later acquired spots, then were redipped. Pristine coins will always have gentle toning. No exceptions.

Notes: In 1941 at the American Numismatic Association convention held that year in Philadelphia, Ira Z. Reed, well-known Philadelphia dealer, offered for sale pairs of 1937 Lincoln cents and Buffalo nickels with reeded edges. These were sold as novelties, not as Mint products. Somehow, the intent of these was forgotten, and in time both were later listed as rarities in A Guide Book of United States Coins. In March 1960 in the auction James F. Kelly conducted for the Penn-Ohio Coin Convention, an example of the cent was offered with this misinformation presented as fact:

1937 rare "milled edge" variety. Unc. bright red. This cent and the nickel (Lot No. 276) were purchased at the 1941 Philadelphia ANA Convention. There have been many conflicting stories regarding this coin but it has been verified by none other than the late F.C.C. Boyd that the late Ira Reed obtained 300 sets of these coins from the Mint just prior to the Convention. This information is first-hand as I was at the convention, was well acquainted with Mr. Reed and Mr. Boyd and can vouch for the above statements. It is a rare coin with auction records close to $100.

This phony description resulted in the "rare" cent bringing $35, and is perhaps a good lesson that a "first hand" recollection can become erroneous when reported years later! Such stuff provides fodder for numismatic students and researchers, who now in the early 21st century are more numerous and enthusiastic than any other time in the history of the hobby.

Writing in The Numismatist, April 1940, Stephen Teets commented: "There is a small 7 and a large 7 on our 1937 Lincoln cents. The former is very small and can be easily discerned. I have been able to locate only one specimen of the small 7 type." Perhaps this was from a relapped die or other process which made a regular 7 seem small. Only one date size is recognized today.

I never noticed the 1937 reeded edge listings in the Redbook. One of those original Ira Reed cards would be a great piece of numismatic ephemera with or without the attached coins. Does anyone have one? It would be nice to get a photo of one. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

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