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.