John and Nancy Wilson submitted this review of the new edition of David Lange's book on U.S. Proof sets.
The Official Red Book, A Guide Book of Modern United States Proof Coin Sets 2nd Edition, by David W. Lange, with Foreword by Q. David Bowers
The Official Red Book, A Guide Book of Modern United States Proof Coin Sets, 2nd Edition, by David W. Lange is updated from the 1st Edition and is now in vivid color. It covers thoroughly this interesting and highly collected series. The reference covers silver and clad sets starting in 1936. Of importance to many new collectors would be the 50 State Quarters Proof Sets which started in 1999.
Nancy started collecting these sets in 1950 and got them from the mint every year thereafter. She never realized the complexity of the series and merely, especially in the early years, just got sets on a yearly basis and ignored the varieties. After we got married in 1968, we continued to collect the sets.
In this second edition, David does an excellent job of giving details by year along with pictures of all the coins for that year with values in the most appropriate grades for that year. The certified populations are also given for each coin in each of the grades. All the pictures are in beautiful color.
The detailed commentary in each year is especially complete and discusses how the sets were packaged and how that packaging treated the coins over the years. The many finishes are described and discussed as to rarity for each particular year.
In the beginning of the book, David gives a short history of proof sets as well as the collecting and storage of the sets. This information will help the beginning as well as advanced collector. At the end of the book, he has a “Gallery of Early U.S. Proof Coins” from 1802 to 1921 with beautiful pictures of each of the coins.
After reading this book, we have a new appreciation of the series and now realize the possibility of finding rare and valuable pieces in our accumulation of yearly sets. I feel most collectors will find this book both enlightening and interesting.
This soft cover book contains 256 pages and is available from Whitman for $19.95. They can be contacted at: Whitman Publishing, LLC, 3103 Clairmont Rd., Suite B, Atlanta, GA, 30329 or phone (800) 546-2995 or visit their web page at
Wayne Homren, Editor
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