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Community Voice Responses (Apr. 10, 2018)

From the Mar. 16 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:


Was your first coin reference work the Red Book?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

Yes! 1967 and I still have it.

I used to study it day and night.

Always hoping to find a 1955 doubled die as I searched through pennies.

Ken Freeze
Martinez, Calif.

No, Red Book was second. Blue Book was first (1956).

Gary Werner
St. Louis, Mo.

My first reference book I purchased in 1955. It was “THE STAR RARE COIN ENCYCLOPEDIA” compiled and published by B. Max Mehl in 1955. Keep up the good work.

Charles Jordan
North Las Vegas, Nev.

Yes, the Red Book was my first reference. Whenever asked, I promote the most current issue of this book. For beginners, I can’t think of a more complete item to have. This gives a complete American history of coinage, and guidelines for ANA grading standards.

The Numismatic News is a standard second for a yearly periodical to have. My outlook would NOT be complete without it!

Gary Kess
Sherman, Texas

My first coin reference was the Red Book, year 1961. I also subscribed to The Coin Collector, published by the Lawrence brothers out of Animosa, Iowa, and the “Numismatic Scrapbook.”

Mark Totzke
Waynesville, Mo.

Short answer – I don’t think so. I did buy one in 2017.

Long answer – I’m fairly confident my dad owned a copy of the Red Book, but I vaguely recall it being blue (we’re talking the late 1970s or early 1980s, and I have trouble remembering what I did last week). My first reference work was the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1991, 18th edition. I purchased it from a coin dealer secondhand.

David Anderson
Address withheld

Yes, the Red Book was my first coin reference book, when I was in elementary school in the early 1970s.

Paul Debbas
Address withheld

The Red Book got me started as a coin collector when I was 13. The book was a gift from my uncle.

Bob Eatman
Chapel Hill, N.C.

My first coin book was a 1966 Blue Book. Then came a 1967 Red Book. I collected Red Books for many years. I have owned so many reference books, catalogs too, I could almost have a bookstore.

Ginger Rapsus
Chicago, Ill.


Gerry Goss
North Billerica, Mass.

Yes, in 1991, when I was first introduced to numismatics, when I was given a 1971 Kennedy half. I was seven years old.

Leroy Vargas
Address withheld

Yes! My dad showed me the Red Book in the early 1960s.

A great education.

Name withheld

I started my collection back in January of 1972 when I was 15. In fact, my collecting began when I walked down to a local St. Louis, Mo., department store to buy the first and second Lincoln cent folders.

When my Dad saw I had those two folders, he produced two things: His 1966 Red Book and a rather large jar of cents he gathered back in the 1940s when he lived in California. I was in seventh heaven what with all the early “S” cents scattered across the dinner table. I went from this coin to that, filling holes in my folders till I was left with just 12 openings. It is one of my earliest fond memories of collecting, and certainly one of the best. (I still have that jar, and that Red Book.)

Name withheld

Most definitely. Red Book was all we used for years. I still have some from the 1970s and 1980s. When I look at some of the values back then, it sure makes you wish you’d have bought more.

Name withheld

As an Australian, my first coin reference book was a RENNIKS (named after the original compiler named Joel SKINNER). I later “worked” – for some years – as a regular paid contributor for Joel when he was editor of the Australian Coin Review (now incorporated into the Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine).

I was also involved with that publication at its outset. before it changed hands several times and conditions changed.

My first international coin reference was a very old Krause bible – way outdated!

The Red Book didn’t enter my library until much later – possibly during the 1990s, when I started using the Internet and found friends in the USA who referred to it regularly. So I was then hooked!

Graeme E. Petterwood
Ravenswood, Australia

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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