The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 38, September 19, 2021, Article 4

FRED L. REED III (1948-2021)

I was very sorry to learn recently that numismatic researcher and author Fred Reed has passed. Thanks to Benny Bolin, Cole Hendrickson and others who passed the word. Here's an article Benny provided from the current issue of Paper Money, the official publication of the Society of Paper Money Collectors. -Editor

  Our esteemed friend and editor of Paper Money,
Fred Reed passed away on Saturday, July 24

Fred Reed Fred L. Reed III was Honorary Life Member #24. An author, researcher, editor, Fred was indeed a stalwart in our hobby. He was born in Syracuse, NY and attended Oklahoma State University. He joined the Coin World staff in 1975 until he left in 1981. He took over and revitalized the SPMC's Paper Money as editor from 1999 to 2013. He also was editor of the TAMS journal. Besides serving as Editor Extraordinaire, he also served the society as Secretary, and served on the board of governors from 1998-2001. The society awarded him an Award of Merit in 2000 and the Nathan Gold award in 1996. He was named to the SPMC Hall of Fame in 2015. His career spanned many genres.

He was the writer/editor in the baseball card field and served as VP with Beckett Publications. His books included Civil War Encased Stamps: The Issuers and Their Times published in 1995 as well as a book on a related topic, Civil War Stamp Envelopes: Their Issuers and Their Times. With many irons in the fire, Fred was an avid researcher on Abraham Lincoln culminating with his book Abraham Lincoln: The Image of His Greatness published in 2009 followed by Abraham Lincoln: Beyond the American Icon published in 2013. He authored Show Me the Money: The Standard Catalog of Motion Picture, TV, Stage, and Advertising Prop Money published in 2005. He was the author of a Numis-mystery series from 1976-1977, and The Week that Was and Spare Change columns in Coin World. A very prolific writer, Fred contributed many articles to Bank Note Reporter, Coin World and Numismatic News to name a few publications.

It was indeed a shock to learn of Fred's passing. I always counted Fred as a friend and mentor. He helped me learn the ins and outs of writing a good article. I was proud to be a contributor to a couple of his books.

Mark Anderson, past President and Treasurer and current member of the BoG of the SPMC remembers Fred; Fred was an unusually perfect fit for the SPMC's journal AND his role in its executive. He arrived at a time of desperate need, and righted Paper Money's seriously listing ship immediately and professionally, getting us back on schedule and fulfilling our key obligation to our members. But he didn't stop there. Over time, he increased the size of the magazine, took it into the age of color, and made anniversary issues true celebratory events.

Fred was a true collector, and his personal publications, about movie money and Lincoln, reflected this. He introduced and championed the SPMC Hall of Fame, and was always a creative, engaged force at the board meetings and in the stewardship of the SPMC.

At the same time, he was intensely private, and we all wished he had a phone, but over time I came to understand how that choice worked for him, and allowed his intensely productive operating style. The arrival of his debilitating stroke could never have been untimelier. We lost an active, vibrant participant in our passion and our lives. We all owe him.

Wendell Wolka, past President ( and current member of the BoG remembers Fred; I was fortunate to count Fred Reed as a friend and mentor. He was a capable and talented editor and publisher and was instrumental in bringing the Society through a rough patch when the magazine had not been published for a rather large number of issues a number of years ago. He did all this and more without fanfare and was the consummate gentleman who believed in doing the right thing the right way every time. God bless.

Pierre Fricke also a past President and current member of the BoG as well as a currency dealer says: Fred was one of the great researchers, historians, and leaders of our numismatic, Lincoln and other history. I had the honor of co-authoring a book with him on the History of Collecting Confederate Paper Money and his research, writings and advice was invaluable. He has made a great contribution to our hobby and our understanding of our history! I miss Fred greatly and only hope I can carry on his work in my work to the degree he would find enlightening and interesting.

Frank Clark also remembers Fred: I cannot remember when I met Fred Reed, but it was long ago in the 1980s as we both lived in Dallas and saw each other quite often at the local shows and coin clubs. We began to run into each other at a once monthly Sunday only stamp show that was near my mother's house in the early 1990s. It was at this time that I learned that Fred lived near my mother and in fact he lived about halfway or roughly six miles between my house and my mom's. Later when I became president of SPMC in 1999, this fact proved very beneficial as I could visit with Fred either on my way to or on my way home from my mom's.

After Gene Hessler stepped down as editor of Paper Money, SPMC lacked an effective editor and the publication of our bimonthly journal fell greatly behind and several members wondered if SPMC had disbanded.

Fred volunteered to serve as editor and I spent a lot of time over at his house helping to get the back issues of Paper Money out. Due to Fred, SPMC went from not publishing a single issue of Paper Money for many months to sending a new journal every few weeks to the membership until we were caught up. Then, Fred started working on our large 40th anniversary issue of Paper Money, which had 160 pages and a massive amount of information on the society.

Treasurer Mark Anderson was so impressed with our hard (well mostly Fred's) work that he had made up for each of us a special award consisting of a model railroad car on a train track attached to a base with a name plate that stated the "Back on Track Award." Fred and I were very moved by this award. Every time I look at the award, I think about those days and evenings getting Paper Money "back on track." SPMC owes Fred a big "thank you" and "job well done." It is the friendships that make our hobby so great.

I met Fred Reed back in the 1980s and became a research assistant for him, helping locate information for the Civil War Encased Stamps book. We corresponded a lot as I tracked down information from the New York Public Library to Princeton University. I was able to hold John Gault's original patent drawing in my hands - the thrill of a lifetime for a collector of Encased Postage Stamps. It was a shock to learn about his sudden stroke. He's already been missed for years - he was the most prolific, hard-working researcher and writer I've ever known, perhaps short of Dave Bowers. Rest in peace, Fred; Thanks so much for all you've done for the hobby. -Editor

Cole Hendrickson writes:

"While my entrance to numismatics occurred after he was sidelined by illness, his research on Civil War numismatics has been a major influence for me. His book on encased postage is one of my favorite numismatic books of all time and I hope that someday his goal of A Numismatist's Perspective of the Civil War will be realized. His passing is a major loss to the numismatic community and I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his family."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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