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Red Book an old friend

I am not scheduled to go to the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Collectibles Expo in March.

I am kind of sorry that this is the case.

At the show the 69th edition of the Red Book will go on sale with a 2016 cover date.

I have many memories of the Red Book.

It was my passport to numismatics.

The first one I ever purchased was dated 1965 and cost me $1.75.

That was one of the best investments I ever made.

I used my first Red Book every way a book can be used.

I opened it and read it from the beginning.

When I reached the tabular listings of dates and prices, I studied them line by line, looking for the lowest mintages and the highest prices.

I was searching my change and filling my Whitman albums, but filling one hole felt as good as filling another.

It was the Red Book that taught me the difference between common and rare.

I also used the Red Book as a handy quick reference.

I had a good memory back then, but I did not recall everything.

When I needed some quick information, I would simply look it up.

I used that 1965 edition over and over again.

I still have it.

Anyone can see that it is well used.

And every year as each new edition of the Red Book becomes available, I acquire it one way or another. As I do I marvel at the many improvements that have been made to this essential reference and I also think of what each new edition might mean to a beginning collector somewhere who is starting out just as I once did.

The Red Book still means a lot to me even as I have other reference books with my name on them.

For me, the Red Book was first, even if now it isn’t the only numismatic book in my life.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."