Coin Update continues its series dedicated to reflecting on the long history of Whitman Publishing’s Guide Book of United States Coins, also known as the Red Book, now in its 72nd edition. “Red Book Recollections” features personal reflections written by Red Book contributors, collectors, and others with the aim of providing different perspectives on the long-lived reference work.
Our next narrative comes from John and Nancy Wilson:
Richard “Dick” Yeoman was one of the greatest numismatists of our time. Very few have achieved what he did during his lifetime in the numismatic hobby. Mr. Yeoman was the recipient of just about every honor that could be bestowed on an individual from many numismatic organizations. Besides being a governor of the American Numismatic Association, he received their Medal of Merit in 1952 and the Farran Zerbe Award in 1956. He was installed in the ANA Hall of Fame in 1978. We can remember going to the Racine Numismatic Society meetings in the 1970s and 1980s. It was like a Who’s Who at the RNS meetings. Some of the luminaries that attended regularly were Mr. Yeoman, Ken Bressett, Ed Metzger, and Neil Shafer. Of course, with Western Publishing located in Racine, many of these luminaries lived in the immediate area.
At one of these meetings, the program was about how we got interested in the numismatic hobby. When it was Mr. Yeoman’s turn, he talked about a time when he worked at a store as a young man and found when he was counting the money at the end of the day that he was short. Going through the change, he found a 20-cent piece. He knew nothing about 20-cent pieces and had mistakenly taken it in as a quarter. This made the till five cents short. He later found out that the 20-cent piece had more value than the quarter, and that was one of his reasons for getting involved in the hobby.
Many years ago, Mr. Yeoman and his wife visited Africa, and he was surprised to see his Red Book being used by traders in the market to value coins found in remote Africa.
We admired and thought very highly of Mr. Yeoman. He was always a gentleman. We had the opportunity over the years before his passing to talk and interact with this numismatic icon. As the author of the best-selling book in the hobby, the Red Book, and also due to his involvement with the coin board, his name will live on forever. He is one of the top 10 numismatists of all time.