Books. The word strikes massive boredom in the hearts of many if not most readers. It is a topic that needs to be addressed from time to time, so I hope you will bear with me here.


I know it is more fun to speculate about what the price of gold will be at the end of the year than think about books. That is why gold finds its way into these pages more often.

However, books, specifically numismatic reference works, and handy coin albums, are at the heart of the hobby.

It is no accident that people with the largest numismatic libraries seem to make the largest profits from their hobby. It is no accident that professional numismatic firms tend to have the largest libraries of all. Witness Clifford Mishler’s story about his visit to Bill Burd and the Chicago Coin Co. last week.

It is said knowledge is power, and that is true in spades in numismatics.

The tragedy is that many collectors buy few if any books at all. That leads to losses on their part. I know you can’t prove a negative. I can’t say the average reader loses $500 each year because he doesn’t own enough books. But nevertheless I will assert that financial losses are real and ongoing.

Not knowing the basics of what something is, how it is graded and its relative rarity, is a handicap for collectors that leads to missed opportunities, foolish purchases and mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

Books provide this critical information.

Sure, there is the college of hard knocks. I have missed opportunities. I have made foolish purchases. I have made mistakes that I shouldn’t have. We all have. I hope books that I have acquired or read have helped me avoid the crippling boo-boos that longtime collectors just shake their heads at.

In any event, I am still trying to fight the good fight. The website that my firm operates has installed a section called “Editor’s Picks.” I hope you will look at it.

I have started off with some basic works and some current titles. Obviously, there is a commercial nature to this. My firm publishes books. Some have my name on them. I hope you will buy a few. I do like getting my paycheck.

But this effort in books will go deeper than that. Titles will change. I expect titles of books from other firms to appear on the website. It is a work in progress.

Numismatic libraries by necessity feature more than just titles from Krause Publications. Collectors need to acquire the titles that best serve their fields of interest.

I would not expect you to slavishly buy everything that appears under “Editor’s Picks.” But if this section gets you to think about books and your need to acquire appropriate titles in appropriate areas of interest, I will have succeeded.



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