Recommend Your 3 Books on US Coins for New Collectors

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Publius2, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    Some recent posts about a new forum section to acquaint people with coins and their rarity (or not) resulted in me thinking about which three books would be of the most use to new collectors. So, let's see what you seasoned collectors think.

    For my part, I'll start out with my three recommendations and why:

    1) The Red Book or The MegaRedBook): The single "all-in-one-place" source of much of the information needed by the new collector for every US series including some colonials. Some basic US coinage history is offered and some context. Also, very economical, always in print, and usually pretty much error-free.

    2) From Mine to Mint by Roger Burdette: While filled with arcana such as the floor layout of the West Pimplespot Assay Office, there is a wealth of information on the early and middle history of the mints; the geo-political aspects of coinage; and the chemical/metallurgy/mechanics of how coins were made. If I were giving this book to my child, I would mark out the sections to read and ignore the rest since some of it is not germane to the new collector and might cause boredom. Again, lots of valuable context information in one place, easy to find book, and reasonably priced.

    3) The Art and Science of Grading Coins by Jason Poe: The only book I have ever read that accessibly describes how coins should be examined in order to determine their grade. A complete neophyte can pick up this book and achieve a grounding not available in any other single source. This is not a grading standards book but rather a fundamental treatise on how to look at coins and why should you look at them in that manner. I have found no other book related to grading that satisfies this particular need and does it so well. IMO, all subsequent grading training should flow out of the information provided here. The book is available, inexpensive, well-written and at a level accessible to most readers. I think this book is so fundamental that I am considering buying four or five copies for the YNs in the club.
     
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  3. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Casual Collector / error expert "in Training "

  4. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    No argument with any of your choices, Pub, I like 'em all and have some of them.

    Here are my 3 choices:

    (1) SAINT GAUDENS DOUBLE EAGLES by Roger Burdette: A 2018 magnus opus on Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins, the book goes into depth on these coins like no book before. Even if you are NOT into SG DEs, you'll find the information on them interesting and the topics between the yearly/mintmark reviews very interesting (The Gold Standard, Die Failures, Gold Coinage After WW I, etc.).

    Note: Available only from Heritage Auctions and make sure you buy the Red Book with Burdette and not the Blue one focused on the Morse Collection.

    (2) GUIDE BOOK TO MORGAN SILVER DOLLARS
    by Q. David Bowers: One of the most popular U.S. coins to collect. Like Burdette's book on Saints it has interesting chapters and stories and information that isn't specific to Morgan's. 6th Edition has updated price and other information.

    In fact, you can expand this choice to include a Guide Book for whatever particular coin that you want to focus on collecting (assuming Whitman has a book on it :D).

    (3) A Handbook of 20th Century Gold Coins, 1907-33 by David Akers and Jeff Ambio: Covers both Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles and Indian Head Eagles. No fluff on other stuff....each chapter is 2-3 pages of data and a quickie review. Still, this is a classic book still used as a reference point and you want to get it before it's out of print/unavailable (no 3rd Edition coming, I checked).

    I have a heavy concentration of gold-oriented books here but I figure others will mention grading books and others later on.

    If not, I'll reply back with an Honorable Mention list. :D
     
  5. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    For a newbie who knows nothing?
    2021 RED BOOK.jpg

    untitled.png

    OFFICIAL PRICE GUIDE TO MINT ERRORS.jpg

    I chose these three for the following reasons:
    1) The Red Book is a must because it contains information on every coin that has ever been used or produced in the US since colonial times.
    2) The ANA Grading Standards gives the newbie a visual idea of the varying degrees of condition as they affect values.
    3) Mint Errors provides detailed explanations of how various errors occur, and we get a BUNCH of newbies on CT who think their weird-looking coins are Mint errors.
     
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  6. AuldFartte

    AuldFartte Supporter! Supporter

    The MegaRed Book, ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins, and a good recent reference book to identify varieties of a specialty you think you'll enjoy collecting such as Morgan Dollars, US Large Cents, But Half Dollars, etc.
     
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  7. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    I guess half a butt is better than no butt!:woot::woot::woot::woot::woot:
     
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  8. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah, about this. I would recommend for the third book the cherrypicker's guide if they wanted to start with CRH. Three books is obviously tough for me, since I own maybe 800 books on coins, (ancients drive the number up considerably), but looking back to when I collected US coins as a kid the two I got most use out of were the Red Book and ANA standards. I read the cover off my 1976 redbook, literally. It was a hardcover and it came clean off the pages.
     
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  9. AuldFartte

    AuldFartte Supporter! Supporter

    Sorry. Should say Bust Half Dollars :hilarious::hilarious::hilarious:
     
  10. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

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  11. Evan Saltis

    Evan Saltis 2 years on CT! Supporter

    Redbook was a nice start. I didn't discover it until about 4 years into collecting. Before that I was just a bargainer.

    When it comes to varieties and the such, I really would consider quite a number of sites including varietyvista and wexlers site to be like reference books.

    Krause world coins guides by century are pretty nice too, includes an incredible variety of coins for world coins, which includes the US. That one book was enough to start me off.
     
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  12. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    I think that 2 of the books @Publius2 mentions are great for beginners. I would replace "From Mine to Mint" with the Travers book. FMTM is an absolutely essential resource - but it is just too deep and too dense for a beginner. They need some context, they need to know how to handle coins, they need the basics. So, I'd recommend the Red Book, Traver's Survival Manual, and my own book as the top three for a beginner.

    Books on varieties or errors are not what I would recommend for a beginner. They need to learn the basics first - not searching with a microscope for every jot and speck. Specialist books such as @GoldFinger1969 mention are excellent resources - but again, the beginner needs a bigger picture "how to collect coins" before they should start to focus on a single series.
     
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  13. KBBPLL

    KBBPLL Well-Known Member

    +1 on VarietyVista and Wexlers. The books mentioned are all good suggestions. It seems like a lot of new collectors start because of all the doubled die, RPM and RPD hype, so I would sent them straight to https://www.doubleddie.com/1801.html and the sections How Dies Are Made, Doubled Dies, and Worthless Doubling. Knowing what's possible and how to identify them would save some frustration I think.
     
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  14. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    I think it has to be:
    The Official A.N.A. Grading Standards for United States Coins . by
    Kenneth Bressett

    A Guidebook of United States Coins AKA "The Red Book". by
    R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett

    The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual . by
    Scott A. Travers


    These 3 would be my choices for a Beginner, One shows grading of coins, the next one gives some values for U.S. coins and medals, and the last one is just a book on the basic things a collector will need to know from scams to counterfeits and doctoring and how to tell, to supplies and storage, to recognizing an overpriced to a fair priced coin. the newer revised version even gets into online buying and selling, and legal and financial concerns and traditional vs. market grading. it touches on a lot of things a new collector will eventually learn, and it might just open their eyes to a lot of things before they learn stuff the hard way.
     
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  15. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I also have to give a shout out to Frank Robinson's book, "Confessions of a Numismatic Fanatic" as well. Great reading on how and why to collect coins, general mindset that helps, how to cultivate sources and relationships, etc. I reread it every 5 years or so.
     
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  16. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    I'd recommend Jason Poe's book; the Travers book; and the Red Book Guide Book to US type coins by Bowers, very succinct but still with loads of information.
     
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  17. manny9655

    manny9655 Well-Known Member

    Besides the fine books mentioned, a subscription to one of the leading hobby magazines will also give a lot of history and information. Coins Magazine, Numismatic News, Coin World, etc. There is something good to be said about each of them.
     
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  18. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    I'd argue that there might be something good to be said about some of them. But, if you're talking price... CoinWeek is a great website that usually has the same info for free.
     
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  19. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    A book like FMTM is definitely not something a newbie or beginner should start off with -- difficult concepts, and a difficult read, too. I think the 3 books I listed above can be read with limited coin knowlege, though Burdette's SAINTS book is a long read (640+ pages) and could be put on the waitlist.

    If the author uses an "easy" reading/writing style, I think even specialist books are OK for someone with some knowledge. I read the Akers and Bowers books years ago with limited knowledge (before I joined CT) and while I didn't understand 100% of what I read, I'd say I got 90% or more.
     
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