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What need are you trying to meet?

When you use a numismatic reference, what is your purpose?

There are a number of important functions played by pricing guides such as the Standard Catalog of World Coins or North American Coins and Prices.

One need is trying to find an up-to-the-minute price.

Another need is to get the help required to identify a particular coin.

Yet another need is to figure out pricing relationships. What’s a common coin of a particular series worth compared to the key to the series, or what’s an MS-65 worth compared to the G-4?

These questions come to mind after I received a call yesterday. The caller expressed interest in the Standard Catalog series of books.

But he was determined to know the date that each went to press. I did not have that information, so I switched him to the book department.

The caller seemed to want up-to-the-minute pricing, but was not interested in the online option that would allow him to access the latest prices that we have in the Krause database.

Once you foreclose that as an option, does it really matter whether a book went to press in May or September? The prices as judged in the Internet Age are not current in either case. Also, he did not seem interested in when the next editions were due to be published, so he did not seem to be concerned about buying a book that was about to be replaced.

Books offer aids in identifying coins and that information does not expire with age. Pricing relationships are also fairly steady over time though they can be disrupted short term by swings in the price of metals.

If a key coin is historically priced at a certain multiple of the common version, it is likely to return there over time. Studying a book can help its users assess this possibility.

And, having just returned from a coin convention, having a book on CD is useful because it is much easier to travel with.

It is nice to have options. Think of what your most pressing need is and determine what you want accordingly.

Visit to see more of your options.