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 Ron Guth:
My earliest experiences as a coin collector revolved around the Red Book. I started collecting around 1963, just before America converted from silver to clad coins. My typical Saturday morning included going to the bank to purchase rolls of cents, dimes, quarters, and half dollars (depending on how much money I had in my pocket). Not knowing the values of anything, I relied on the Red Book to help me determine which coins were valuable and which were not. I soon learned to keep an eye out for a number of different date and mintmark combinations. For example, I soon learned that if I came across a 1909-S VDB cent or a 1916-D dime, I had hit a home run (sadly, I never did find a 1909-S VDB).
As my collecting advanced, the Red Book introduced me to obsolete types and series that could no longer be found in circulation—side roads that I traveled down with great enthusiasm: half cents, colonial coins, Seated Liberty silver dollars, Civil War tokens, and so much more. The Red Book, then and now, is a handy little book that gives a wonderful overview of the depth and breadth of American numismatics. It’s the perfect guide for beginners, yet it still contains plenty of useful information for the advanced collector.