The Blue Book, or Bluebook as you often see mis-typed, is another book in the coin collecting world that has become a standard of sorts. The formal title is: “The Official Blue Book®—A Handbook of United States Coins”. It’s been around for a full 65 editions! Any book with that many editions and used since 1942 proves something in itself. It deserves some respect!
What is the Blue Book?
It’s a wholesale price guide for U.S. coins going all the way back to 1616. Among other things, it contains:
- Average coin dealer buying prices
- Actual-sized coin photos
- Historical information about coins
- Grading and collecting tips
- Mintage and grading records
In short, a reference both coin collectors and dealers use in buying and selling U.S. coins.
The “Red Book” vs. The “Blue Book” (Or, Redbook vs. Bluebook for some…)
Several week back I wrote about the Red Book, another book from Whitman Publishing. It’s not surprising that there’s often confusion between the two. If you casually flip through each, they look extremely alike. So what’s the BIGGEST difference?
The Red Book contains retail coin prices – what you can expect to pay when buying from a dealer. The Blue Book contains wholesale coin prices – the price you might expect to get when selling to a dealer.
Is the Blue Book Really Useful with the Internet Around?
Any printed reference book is likely to be dated when it comes out once a year. There’s just no way for a book to keep on top of the fluctuations many coins experience in the market – especially hot markets.
Although the Blue Book (or even Red Book) may not be as valuable as it was years ago when it comes to coin prices, it’s an excellent reference you can always carry with you.
And the bottom line when it comes to coin prices… It matters less what a book, the Internet or any other source lists for prices. Any coin is only worth what you or someone else is willing to pay for it!
Yet, let’s also be real. It’s always wise to have as much knowledge as possible whey buying or selling coins. The Blue Book, in my opinion, can be a good tool to help augment some of your coin decisions.