Like all modern coins, Cuban coins have three sides, although not much is talked about the third side: the edge. When it comes to edge variations in Cuban coinage, maybe the best-known examples are the 1915 “fine reeding” and “coarse reeding” varieties, although edge varieties can also be found among Cuban proclamation medals and also in the 1870 coinage of the Republic of Cuba in Arms. Here, we discuss edge varieties of the 1915 coinage, answering to multiple inquiries from our members.
Cuban coins were minted at the Philadelphia mint (USA) during the first republic. In 1915, the first year of coinage, multiple adjustments were made to the designs, which is not uncommon in the initial minting stages. For instance, silver coins of 1915 (with the exception of the 10 centavos pieces) were initially minted with a high relief star on the obverse, which later was changed to a shallower, sharper, low relief star, as discussed in a separate guide. All silver coins of 1915 also have a reeded edge. Although no edge changes were introduced for the 10 centavos, 40 centavos and 1 peso coins of 1915, two edge varieties can be found for the 20 centavos pieces. The 1915 20 centavos were struck with “fine” reeded edge initially, and later changed to a “coarse” reeded edge. Apparently, adjustments in edge reeding were made at about the same time that the star relief was adjusted, since there seem to be a correlation between the star relief and the edge reeding. Most high relief coins have fine edge reeding, whereas most low relief coins have coarse edge reeding, making the high relief coarse reeding and low relief fine reeding combinations harder to find.
NGC Fine Reeds and Coarse Reeds Varieties
- 20C 1915 HIGH RELIEF, COARSE REEDS
- 20C 1915 HIGH RELIEF, FINE REEDS
- 20C 1915 LOW RELIEF, COARSE REEDS
- 20C 1915 LOW RELIEF, FINE REEDS
PCGS Fine Reeds and Coarse Reeds Varieties
- 1915 20C Low Relief / Fine Reeding
- 1915 20C Fine Reeding
- 1915 20C Coarse Reeding
How can they be differentiated? The easy answer is: by counting the number of reeds. Fine reeding coins have approximately 146 reeds and coarse reeding ones have approximately 114 reeds. This image shows a comparison of the two edge reeding varieties. The broadly spaced reeds of the top coin correspond to the coarse reeding (CR) edge, and the narrow, closely spaced reeds of the bottom coin represent the fine reeding (FR) variety.
Here’s a 360 view of the edge of each one of these coins. Note the difference in the sharpness of the star as well. As mentioned previously, most 20 CENTAVOS coins with Fine Reeds are found with a High Relief star, and most coins with Coarse Reeds are found with a Low Relief star.
1915 20 CENTAVOS
Old slabs cover the edge and make it nearly imposible to discern edge variety, but new Edge View slabs use prongs to mount the coins exposing portions of the edge, enough to see:
- 26-28 reeds between prongs for fine reeding coins in NGC slabs
- 21-22 reeds between prongs for coarse reeding coins in NGC slabs