The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 16, April 17, 2011, Article 6

Book Review: A Guide Book Of United States Coins, 2012

John and Nancy Wilson submitted this review of the latest edition of the classic "Red Book" of U.S. Coins. Thanks! Pictured is the 2012 Limited Edition Leather version. -Editor

2012 Limited Edition Red Book A Guide Book Of United States Coins, R. S. Yeoman, Edited by Kenneth Bressett, Research Editor Q. David Bowers, Valuations Editor Jeff Garrett, The Official Red Book 65th Anniversary Edition 2012, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Reviewed by John and Nancy Wilson, NLG

It is hard to believe that the official red book, A Guide Book of United States Coins by R. S. Yeoman and edited by Kenneth Bressett is in its 65th year. Since the early-1950s for Nancy and 1968 for John the Red Book has been our number one source for finding out information and prices on our nation's coinage. Anyone who talks to us about what their coin is worth is quickly directed to the Red Book. If no coin or book dealer is available we direct them to a national book chain seller like Books-A-Million. They, as well as many other book dealers, will have a hobby section which will have the Red Book for sale. Probably more people have become interested in coin collecting because of the Red Book than any other coin publication ever produced. The 432 page reference has over 1,800 full-color photographs, and pricing for more than 6,000 coins, and 33,000 individual coins in up to nine grades per series. Over 140 professional coin dealers, scholars and other experts contributed to the prices in this 65th edition.

Though this 2012 edition brings to us only one more page then last year's, it has some great new features. Two of the most important features were going to $43 per ounce for silver and $1,875 for gold. With the prices for precious metals constantly changing these new higher prices will help you better know the value of your silver and gold coins. For some great information go to Appendix D and review the Top 250 Auction Prices for U. S. coins. It is interesting how many coins which sold ten or even twenty years ago still are on the list. Valuations Editor Jeff Garrett says that prices jumped more than $17,000 over the last edition, and a total of 42 coins broke the million mark. The bullion section now includes more photos and information for the mints more recent issues which include the America the Beautiful five-ounce silver bullion coins, and the first spouse coins in both gold, and proof platinum. All the circulating coins and commemoratives issues and prices have also been updated.

In press releases from Whitman, the editor's comment on the current state of the market, is "rare coins in exceptional condition continue to hold or increase in value." He finishes his comments with, "overall, there seem to be bargains to be had throughout the entire range of American coins now that prices have receded a bit from the overheated market of recent years." Quoting Jeff Garrett, "Important, high quality coins continue to bring record amounts. Increased bullion prices have lifted the value of common, low-grade issues, but in general coins with average eye appeal have softened slightly due to the weak economy. While many collectors and investors focus on bullion, rare coins offer tremendous value at today's prices." Q. David Bowers says, "the book's continuing popularity (more than 22 million copies have been sold since 1946), has continued even in the internet age." The Red Book remains solidly the collector's best and first choice for instant information.

The continued pricing of the pre-Federal issues (colonial and post-colonial coins and tokens as well as continental dollars and other early contract issues and patterns) in good and very good condition have continued in this edition as beginning collectors find the prices in these grades are affordable and a good starting point. According to more published information collectors of high-grade coins and rarities can look at the coin charts that have new listings this year on the continental dollar, large cents, several draped bust and liberty seated series, and liberty head and Saint-Gaudens double eagles.

As collectors of the overprinted red books, the prices in this section have been updated to include the 2011 Boston Numismatic Society special edition which is currently priced at $100. The glossary will help collectors and probably some dealers know the special words that are used to describe a coin such as, mule a coin struck from two dies not intended to be used together. The well laid out bibliography has 129 listings covering just about every coin series. The index is always useful and will help you to immediately find the information you need regarding coins and other information in the book. On the minus side, Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker, says that the type-coin value charts at the front of each denomination were removed from this edition because they are now covered in the professional edition red book. Most people who buy this edition do not also buy the professional edition. All the other great information contained in the 65th Edition makes up greatly for this eliminated information. This edition, as well all all past issues of the red book, continue to be the super heavy weight champion of all coin books sold annually in this country.

The Red Book covers the history of colonial and early American coins; official federal issues from half cents through silver dollars and gold coins; classic and modern commemoratives; Proof and Mint sets; error coins; Civil War tokens; pioneer (territorial) gold; every state and territorial quarter, plus the new National Park quarters; all of the presidential dollars; and more. You'll benefit from its practical essays on grading, investing, auctions, and other hobby subjects.

The 65th Edition comes in five different sizes and prices and lists from $14.95 for the spiral bound to $69.95 for the leather-bound limited edition (1,000 copies). The 2012 Red Book Hard Cover is $16.95, and you get a free clear-plastic dust jacket while supplies last. For information on purchasing any one of these editions you can contact the publishers at: Whitman Publishing, LLC, 3103 Clairmont Rd., Suite B, Atlanta, GA. 30329 or visit their web page, or call, (800) 546-2995.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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