Why Every Coin Collector Needs an Official Red Book

Picture1Are you a coin collector?  If so, do you have one of these?  If not, you need to get one!

The “Red Book” is considered the “Bible” of the coin industry, it lists of every U.S. Coin, Territorial Coin and Colonial Coin ever made. It includes the coin’s designers, mintage, metal content, prices for each coin in various grades and other general information.

The Red Book is the most comprehensive guide to U.S. coins there is!

The prices listed in the Red Book are generally retail prices. And, since it is published annually, the listed prices are not always accurate as prices for many coins fluctuate throughout the year due to coin market conditions and precious metals fluctuations.

An interesting note about mintages is that the surviving number of coins is quite often very different than the number of coins minted. Obviously, many coins that were made for general circulation were lost over time. During times of high precious metal markets, many common gold and silver coins were melted, and many coins were hoarded or stored in quantity for various reasons.

In years gone by, in times of war or hard times, people tended to hoard their coins. For example, coins minted during the Civil War were hoarded in mass and many of them are consequently very common. An interesting example of quantities of stored coins is the 1903-O Morgan silver $1. At one time this was considered a very rare coin. One of the key dates to the set as there were only a few coins in the market place. Then years ago, a bank discovered many bags of uncirculated 1903-O silver $1 in its vaults. One bag is considered to contain $1000 coins. So, while it is still a slightly better date coin, the 1903-O silver $1 is not the rarity it used to be.

The bottom line is that like many other types of price guides, the Red Book is just that – a guide. But, it is a great guide indeed. So, if you don’t have one, stop by our store and get yours today.

Happy collecting!

Chris Seuntjens,


Christopher’s Fine Jewelry and Rare Coins