The books and publications you need on your shelf to learn about your coins and the art of coin collecting
It does not matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned expert, knowledge is power when it comes to coin collecting. Doing your research can easily be the difference between buying a valuable coin and a worthless fake.
If you have ever searched for a book on coin collecting, you know there are thousands from which to choose. But which are the ones you should not pass up? Here are our recommendations on what books to add to your coin collecting library:
The Red Book - R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett
A Guide Book of United States Coins, also known as The Red Book, is the best-selling numismatic book ever, and it has been under annual publication since 1947. Originally a price guide, The Red Book has evolved to include information concerning historical background, photographs, dimensions, and mintage data for every United States coin series. The Red Book also includes general numismatic articles on collecting and investing in coinage, making it a great tool to get beginners started.
The Official A.N.A. Grading Standards for United States Coins - Kenneth Bressett
The American Numismatic Association’s publication provides vital coin grading information for collectors. Determining a coin’s condition and grading is important for determining value, and this guide to grading standards is a great reference. It includes images of both obverse and reverse sides of each coin and provides detailed information about the wear and luster associated with each grade.
The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual - Scott A. Travers
Coin collecting can be a tricky hobby to master, and Travers’s, The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual, is full of information designed to help you get the most out of your coin collecting ventures. This includes chapters on avoiding counterfeit coins and scams, buying coins online, protecting your collection, etc. Having a knowledge of these areas of the industry can really prove beneficial when it comes to buying and selling real coins for appropriate prices.
One-Minute Coin Expert - Scott A. Travers
If you are just getting into coin collecting, this Travers volume is also a must. It offers information on identifying valuable coins, grading coins, trading, and other basic concepts that can help you take your collecting hobby to the next level.
Coin World Almanac - Edited by Beth Deisher
If you are looking for a great index of coin collection terms and information, the Coin World Almanac is for you. It is full of facts about paper money as well as coins, and includes relevant numismatic historical information on coin designs and designers.
The MacMillan Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatics - Richard G. Doty
Numismatic terms come up often, but they can be difficult to understand. Doty’s encyclopedic dictionary alphabetically lists and explains common numismatic terms.
Once you learn the basics of coin collecting, it is time to choose the type of coins you are most interested in collecting – namely the country/mint whose coins you desire the most and perhaps a particular series that grabs your attention.
Luckily, there are numerous books on a particular country’s coinage and series therein. Some of the most popular specialty books include:
Standard Catalog of World Coins - Colin R. Bruce
A hefty volume, Bruce’s Standard Catalog of World Coins provides photos and average prices for coins from around the world beginning in the 20th century. While it is not concentrated on a particular series and does not provide any “how-to” information on coin collecting, this volume is a great resource for any collector who may wish to venture outside of United States coins.
Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins - Walter Breen
Colonial coins are a great option for history buffs, and Breen’s encyclopedia takes an in-depth look at all U.S. coins from Colonial times to the modern day. This includes information on errors and mintages as well as detailed photos.
Coinage and History of the Roman Empire - Robert Hoge and David L. Vagi
The Romans paved the way for coinage, and this two volume set offers information on each ancient Roman that was ever featured on their famous coins. The second volume offers more details on the coins themselves including thorough pictures and descriptions.
The Expert’s Guide to Collecting & Investing in Rare Coins - David Bowers
The rare coin investment market can be harrowing, but Bowers’s guide takes a look at both the history of the rare coin market and how collectors can make wise rare coin investments. This means looking at ways to buy online and through auction as well as determining grading and overall value. This book is considered to be for a more advanced collector, but is a great addition to any collector’s library.
A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins - David Bowers
American Double Eagles have been America’s largest circulating gold coin and, though expensive, prove to be valuable collection pieces for collectors. Bowers’s guide to double eagle coins includes information and pricing for various grades and mintages throughout the years.
Grow Your Coin Collecting Library
It is impossible to include all of the helpful general and specialty books about coin collecting, especially considering how many coin series there are to collect. Luckily, a quick Internet search can probably help you find the references you need to make your collection great.