One of the most quintessential tools a coin collector can have in his or her arsenal is The Official Red Book®—A Guide Book of United States Coins. The 2011 Red Book, a unique and indispensable resource, was just released in its 64th edition, complete with all the data and pictures everyone has come to expect.
Those new to the hobby might just be asking themselves, ”What the heck is a Red Book?" If you are one of those individuals, you owe it to yourself to do a little research on the benefits it can provide. From the novice peruser of pocket change to the die-hard collector, everyone can reap the advantages of knowledge this book offers.
Whitman Publishing, who issues this book, has this to say:
The Red Book covers the history of colonial and early American coins; official federal issues from half cents through silver dollars and gold coins; classic and modern commemoratives; Proof and Mint sets; error coins; Civil War tokens; pioneer (territorial) gold; every state and territorial quarter, plus the new National Park quarters; all of the presidential dollars; and more.
As stated, the book does cover quite a bit of territory. But it does so in such a logical method that it becomes almost second nature to even the occasional user who needs to quickly locate vital information on U.S. coinage.
Not only are high-resolution photographs of American coinage dating as far back as 1616 shown, but also brief histories and known mintages as well as the varieties of each piece that have occurred over the years. But what truly makes this tool invaluable is the coin pricing information contained within its pages. These prices are averages of the retail paid for such strikes in the few months leading up to the book’s printing.
Now, of course, the price of coins is extremely fluid and anything in print today is out-of-date tomorrow, but that does not negate the value of keeping one of these books handy. At a glance, it can tell if the piece you are about to buy is worth what the dealer is asking, or if that old nickel you just found in your change from the local coffee shop is worth a buck or several hundred.
The Red Book is available in four versions: hard-cover, spiral-bound, spiral-bound hard-cover and large print spiral-bound. Prices start at $14.95. Whitman (http://www.whitmanbooks.com/) is currently offering free shipping on entire orders that include a 2011 Red Book.