US Coins

Prolific numismatic journalist Ed Reiter dead at 79

Veteran numismatic journalist Ed Reiter passed away at his Pennsylvania residence Aug. 24 at the age of 79.

Image courtesy of Numismatic Literary Guild.

The following is from a news release issued Aug. 24 by the Numismatic Literary Guild on behalf of the family of Ed Reiter:

Ed Reiter of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, a one-man institution in coin writing for over half a century, died at the age of 79 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Aug. 24.

According to his wife, Patricia, the cause was multiple organ failure.

At the time of his death, Mr. Reiter was still a powerful force in journalism for the coin hobby and trade, serving as senior editor of COINage magazine for his 32nd year and as executive director of the prestigious nonprofit Numismatic Literary Guild in his 27th year. He was also an active consultant to a number of numismatic firms including the Certified Acceptance Corporation, Littleton Coin Co., and Universal Coin & Bullion.

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For over 50 years, Mr. Reiter opined on all matters numismatic, first as an editor in Iola, Wisconsin, of the hobby publication, Numismatic News. He was later a newspaper columnist for The Asbury Park Press, and then wrote his flagship numismatics column for nearly a decade, from July 1979 to January 1989, which appeared in the weekly Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times

After his retirement from theTimes, Mr. Reiter continued his coin writings inThe Bergen Record in New Jersey, where he served as an editor for the paper. Between 1998 and 2002, he won four first-place awards (four out of five years) from the New Jersey Press Association for Best Headline Writing, reflecting his penchant for wordplay and puns.

Beyond headline writing, Mr. Reiter received many other awards for his work. The Numismatic Literary Guild presented him with its lifetime achievement Clemy Award in 1986; he was awarded the Burnett Anderson Memorial award in 2014 jointly by three coin hobby organizations (American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society and Numismatic Literary Guild); and his writings garnered a cumulative 61 honors, many of them for his monthly COINage column, “My Two Cents’ Worth.”

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In 2002, he authored The New York Times Guide to Coin Collecting, which was published by St. Martin’s Press. 

Mr. Reiter graduated from Aquinas Institute, Rochester, New York, in 1955 and received his bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1959.

He leaves his wife, Patricia, and her mother, Stella Domski; three daughters: Allison (Amodio), Caroline (Estabrooks) and Jennifer (Merrill); two sons: Christopher and Timothy; two grandchildren: Gavin Estabrooks and Cullen Estabrooks; three-sons-in-law: Michael Amodio, Jason Estabrooks and Lee Merrill; and a brother, Paul. He was predeceased by a sister, Patricia Bongiovanni.

Scott Travers, author of The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual and a former vice president of the American Numismatic Association, worked with Mr. Reiter for 37 years and was one of his closest friends. Travers had a recent telephone conversation with him.

“Ed’s voice was uncharacteristically weak,” Travers commented.

“He understood that his health was failing, but he told me from his hospital bed how a nurse was tugging at his right leg to wrap it in a bandage.”

“I used Ed’s own style of humor with him,” Travers said. “I told Ed that the nurse might be joking about all of this, and that a speedy recovery could be on the horizon.” Mr. Reiter curiously asked how Travers would know that.

“Because she’s pulling your leg,” Travers replied.

“Ed could hardly contain his laughter,” Travers reported. “And that was the last time we talked,” Travers said.

Travers commented further that the loss of “Ed Reiter’s sense of humor, unique writing style, and strong leadership will leave a void in our hobby and industry, but his spirit and plays on words will live on in perpetuity through his great writings and archived public pronouncements.”  

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