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Red Book release set for Baltimore show

My first Red Book was the 1965 edition.

I read it from cover to cover, memorizing mintages and prices.

The 2019 edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins, which is the formal title, is set for release March 22 at the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Collectibles Expo.

Where have these last 54 years gone?

I hope I have used the time wisely.

I know Whitman did.

At 464 pages, the latest Red Book is more than double the size of my first copy.

Do kids memorize anything anymore?

Had I been able to look up the mintage of the 1909-S VDB on a cell phone, would I still remember that its mintage is 484,000?

I wonder.

Whatever I do recall I owe to my initial experience with the Red Book.

It gave me an outline of the hobby that I have followed ever since.

The 2019 edition prices nearly 8,000 entries in up to nine grades each, with more than 32,000 retail valuations, according to Senior Editor Jeff Garrett.

Prices are compiled with the help of over 100 coin dealer contributors.

Research Editor Q. David Bowers said, “The Red Book is a single-volume library. It gives collectors and dealers valuable historical information for every U.S. coin series, from half cents up through gold $20 coins, and more.”

This short description by Bowers is absolutely true and the key to its longevity as a reference.

I am not the only one who relied on it through the years.

In fact, Kenneth Bressett, who worked with the book’s creator, R.S. Yeoman, observes the grass-roots nature of the guide and the way collectors regard it as a book that belongs to the entire hobby.

Bressett is now Editor Emeritus, and the hobby should recognize how he maintained its high standards.

“The Red Book is a reliable standard reference written not only for collectors, but by collectors,” Bressett said.

Having 72 editions is quite a record of accomplishment.

The first edition was 1946.

Explosive growth in numismatics followed publication.

Numismatic News followed in 1952.

Would this paper even exist had not the Red Book prepared the way?

We can’t know for sure, but what I do know is Numismatic News founder Chet Krause had great respect for the Red Book and the Whitman team.

Pre-order price for the 2019 Red Book is $15.95 for the spiral bound or $17.95 for the traditional red hardcover that lends its name.

Visit the website for more information.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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