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What is the greatest numismatic book you have ever read?

I am always looking to learn more in the hobby and be a better numismatist.

What is your absolute favorite numismatic book (besides the Red Book - I have that one)? It can be series specific or general, reference or narrative... What book has brought you the MOST joy in the hobby?

I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    P0CKETCHANGEP0CKETCHANGE Posts: 2,259 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 6, 2022 3:49PM

    Just finished Illegal Tender, which tells the story of the 1933 St. Gaudens double eagle, and it was a FANTASTIC read.

    Nothing is as expensive as free money.

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    TomBTomB Posts: 20,737 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can't pin it to one book, so I will choose the three that stand out far above the rest (and I will recuse myself from the book I helped write on RE half dollars!). They are as follows-

    Numismatic Art in America by Cornelius Vermeule. I am writing specifically about the 1970/1971 publication of the book and not the rework of it done in the last twenty-years. I see @Catbert has already mentioned this excellent work.

    Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection written and published by our own PCGS. Again, the first edition from 1997 is a large format book on heavy, high gloss paper and there had been a second edition that appeared to be a smaller format with lower quality paper. Stick with the first edition.

    The Complete Guide to Barber Half Dollars by David (Feigenbaum) Lawrence and published in the early 1990s. It is a paperback and I don't believe there has been a second edition. This is the go-to book for the Barber half dollar series.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
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    WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,976 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In my Early Years:

    First edition 1984

    More recently:

    First edition 2015

    “I may not believe in myself but I believe in what I’m doing” ~Jimmy Page~

    My Full Walker Registry Set (1916-1947)

    https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/competitive-sets/16292/

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    ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,433 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "The Book of Hard Knox" subtitled "Time On the Water"

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    jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,318 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Rick Snow's Attribution Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents 3 vols. If you collect these coins it is a must.
    Ron Pope's Buffalo Nickel's The Abraided Die Varieties Great information
    Many more.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
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    BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,574 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fractional Money by Neil Carothers.

    The Art and Craft of Coinmaking by Denis Cooper.

    Dies and Coinage by Don Taxay.

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
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    DNADaveDNADave Posts: 7,239 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One of the first coin books I read.

    Followed closely by Edkins scrip catalog volume II

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    RichieURichRichieURich Posts: 8,372 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fractional Money by Neil Carothers.

    The Red Book. When I was a kid, I spent many hours poring through this book and trying to learn everything I could.

    Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793 - 1857.

    An authorized PCGS dealer, and a contributor to the Red Book.

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    MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My favorite in my specialty is "In Yankee Doodle's Pocket: The Myth, Magic and Politics of Money in Early America". The author is Will Nipper.

    For general coin collecting, I really like "The Expert's Guide to Collecting & Investing in Rare Coins" by Q. David Bowers

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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TomB said:
    I can't pin it to one book, so I will choose the three that stand out far above the rest (and I will recuse myself from the book I helped write on RE half dollars!). They are as follows-

    Numismatic Art in America by Cornelius Vermeule. I am writing specifically about the 1970/1971 publication of the book and not the rework of it done in the last twenty-years. I see @Catbert has already mentioned this excellent work.

    Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection written and published by our own PCGS. Again, the first edition from 1997 is a large format book on heavy, high gloss paper and there had been a second edition that appeared to be a smaller format with lower quality paper. Stick with the first edition.

    The Complete Guide to Barber Half Dollars by David (Feigenbaum) Lawrence and published in the early 1990s. It is a paperback and I don't believe there has been a second edition. This is the go-to book for the Barber half dollar series.

    May I respectfully ask what you have against the Second Edition? Let me say up front that the revision was done by my good friend David T. Alexander, the father of my recently deceased Godson, and I am far from impartial on the subject.

    I think that he did fairly well with what he had to work with, since a case can be made that American Numismatic Art died in 1947 with the discontinuance of the Walking Liberty half. Elizabeth Jones had a few wonderful things, but they are the exceptions to the drool.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One of my favorite numismatic books has always been “The U.S. Mint and Coinage” by Don Taxay.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 11,150 ✭✭✭✭✭

    From a perspective of pure enjoyment, probably Adventures with Rare Coins by QD Bowers. The fact that he autographed my copy is a plus.
    American Coin treasures and Hoards is right up there.
    I have lots of reference books that are more useful, but you asked for most joy….

    Successful BST transactions with 170 members. Recent: Tonedeaf, Shane6596, Piano1, Ikenefic, RG, PCGSPhoto, stman, Don'tTelltheWife, Boosibri, Ron1968, snowequities, VTchaser, jrt103, SurfinxHI, 78saen, bp777, FHC, RYK, JTHawaii, Opportunity, Kliao, bigtime36, skanderbeg, split37, thebigeng, acloco, Toninginthblood, OKCC, braddick, Coinflip, robcool, fastfreddie, tightbudget, DBSTrader2, nickelsciolist, relaxn, Eagle eye, soldi, silverman68, ElKevvo, sawyerjosh, Schmitz7, talkingwalnut2, konsole, sharkman987, sniocsu, comma, jesbroken, David1234, biosolar, Sullykerry, Moldnut, erwindoc, MichaelDixon, GotTheBug
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    TomBTomB Posts: 20,737 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CaptHenway said:

    @TomB said:
    I can't pin it to one book, so I will choose the three that stand out far above the rest (and I will recuse myself from the book I helped write on RE half dollars!). They are as follows-

    Numismatic Art in America by Cornelius Vermeule. I am writing specifically about the 1970/1971 publication of the book and not the rework of it done in the last twenty-years. I see @Catbert has already mentioned this excellent work.

    Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection written and published by our own PCGS. Again, the first edition from 1997 is a large format book on heavy, high gloss paper and there had been a second edition that appeared to be a smaller format with lower quality paper. Stick with the first edition.

    The Complete Guide to Barber Half Dollars by David (Feigenbaum) Lawrence and published in the early 1990s. It is a paperback and I don't believe there has been a second edition. This is the go-to book for the Barber half dollar series.

    May I respectfully ask what you have against the Second Edition? Let me say up front that the revision was done by my good friend David T. Alexander, the father of my recently deceased Godson, and I am far from impartial on the subject.

    I think that he did fairly well with what he had to work with, since a case can be made that American Numismatic Art died in 1947 with the discontinuance of the Walking Liberty half. Elizabeth Jones had a few wonderful things, but they are the exceptions to the drool.

    I have nothing against the second edition. However, I have also never seen it in-hand so I don't know how it compares to the first edition. Therefore, I recommended the edition that I am familiar with and comfortable with. My post had not been meant to be taken as a slam on the newer edition, but was instead meant to be consistent with what I have read.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
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    jomjom Posts: 3,389 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Buyer's Guide to the Rare Coin Market - Dave Bowers

    Also, I don't remember the title but the one about the lost 1913 Liberty nickel. I don't know if it was the "greatest" book but it was fun to read.

    jom

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    breakdownbreakdown Posts: 1,953 ✭✭✭✭✭

    John J Ford and the Franklin Hoard is my favorite. Karl Moulton’s book is epic in length, meticulously detailed and will forever change how you view the numismatic field and some of its greatest players in the 50s and 60s.

    Runner up would be all of Roger Burdette’s Renaissance of American Coinage books.

    "Look up, old boy, and see what you get." -William Bonney.

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    CoinlearnerCoinlearner Posts: 2,464 ✭✭✭✭

    History of United States Coinage by Q. David Bowers ...My "coffee table" book for awhile ,a long time ago. Owned most of his works,at one time or another.

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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TomB said:

    @CaptHenway said:

    @TomB said:
    I can't pin it to one book, so I will choose the three that stand out far above the rest (and I will recuse myself from the book I helped write on RE half dollars!). They are as follows-

    Numismatic Art in America by Cornelius Vermeule. I am writing specifically about the 1970/1971 publication of the book and not the rework of it done in the last twenty-years. I see @Catbert has already mentioned this excellent work.

    Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection written and published by our own PCGS. Again, the first edition from 1997 is a large format book on heavy, high gloss paper and there had been a second edition that appeared to be a smaller format with lower quality paper. Stick with the first edition.

    The Complete Guide to Barber Half Dollars by David (Feigenbaum) Lawrence and published in the early 1990s. It is a paperback and I don't believe there has been a second edition. This is the go-to book for the Barber half dollar series.

    May I respectfully ask what you have against the Second Edition? Let me say up front that the revision was done by my good friend David T. Alexander, the father of my recently deceased Godson, and I am far from impartial on the subject.

    I think that he did fairly well with what he had to work with, since a case can be made that American Numismatic Art died in 1947 with the discontinuance of the Walking Liberty half. Elizabeth Jones had a few wonderful things, but they are the exceptions to the drool.

    I have nothing against the second edition. However, I have also never seen it in-hand so I don't know how it compares to the first edition. Therefore, I recommended the edition that I am familiar with and comfortable with. My post had not been meant to be taken as a slam on the newer edition, but was instead meant to be consistent with what I have read.

    Ah. My bad. I misunderstood your comment.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    DreamcrusherDreamcrusher Posts: 210 ✭✭✭✭

    For a pure enjoyment and fun to read perspective, you may want to give Past Tense a try. You can purchase it through the ANA website.

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    renomedphysrenomedphys Posts: 3,508 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman

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    ExbritExbrit Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭✭

    Good topic - there are so many that I’ve enjoyed picking one would be extremely hard at this point.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are three that I really like - though I have many.
    A California Gold Rush - Q. David Bowers (autographed)
    EXPERTS GUIDE COLLECTING INVESTING RARE COINS - Q. David Bowers
    Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection... PCGS
    Cheers, RickO

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    ShamikaShamika Posts: 18,760 ✭✭✭✭

    Recollections of a Newspaperman: A Record of Life and Events in California by Frank Leach published in 1917.

    This may not appear to be a book on numismatic, but you would be mistaken.

    Frank Leach was many things during the early days of California. Among various occupations, he was the superintendent and later director of the San Francisco mint from 1897 to 1909. In his book he talks about the redesigns of our national coinage (e.g. Saint Gauden's double eagle) during an important time in numismatics and more importantly the great earthquake and conflagration of 1906 that nearly destroyed the city. He discusses in great detail the struggles he and mint's empolyees suffered in protecting the mint as well as the devastation of the regional economy afterwards. He also discusses the California gold rush as he was a young boy living in Sacramento and later Napa when California was but a fledgling state.

    His perspective is quite candid for a writer of that time.

    Buyer and seller of vintage coin boards!
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    ShamikaShamika Posts: 18,760 ✭✭✭✭

    By the way, Dave Bowers republished a portion of Leach's book under the title Recollections of a Mint Director. Dave's book is more concise and less expensive.

    .

    Buyer and seller of vintage coin boards!
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    seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 520 ✭✭✭✭

    First book is my Breen Encyclopedia. My coin "Bible" is my Red Book Guide of Liberty Seated Silver Coins.

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    CoinHoarderCoinHoarder Posts: 2,471 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This 1966 book is the best coin book I ever read. I read it cover to cover many years ago. I think I will read it again.


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    erwindocerwindoc Posts: 4,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have enjoyed this one. As a date-by-date book, it gives much more than mintage info. I use it all the time to research potential purchases.

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    retirednowretirednow Posts: 474 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "In God We Trust" By William Bierly,
    "Girl on the Silver Dollar" Roger Burdette
    "Those Who Led the Way" Q. David Bowers
    "Numismatic Art In America" Cornelius Vermeule

    In no specific order, but these are the books I like and felt were good reads from front to back.

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    rkprkp Posts: 434 ✭✭✭

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    rkprkp Posts: 434 ✭✭✭

    @PocketChange Overall, I thought this was a good book with obviously a very good story to tell. The one thing that bothered me was that there was a lot of unnecessary detail that did nothing to advance the story or set the scene. I felt the book could have been significantly shorter and still told the story in full detail. I suppose if a book is accused of being "too long" that probably is more indicative of a lazy, unimaginative reader than anything else, lol.

    @P0CKETCHANGE said:
    Just finished Illegal Tender, which tells the story of the 1933 St. Gaudens double eagle, and it was a FANTASTIC read.

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    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Read a book? What is that? :D

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

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    AotearoaAotearoa Posts: 1,374 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Steven59 said:
    Read a book? What is that? :D

    SBF, is that you? I had no idea that you also collected real coins...

    Smitten with DBLCs.

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    NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 897 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wanted to thank everyone for recommending your favorite books. There are SO many numismatic books, and while I am sure all have nuggets of wisdom, I appreciate getting perspective on those that have brought each of you the most value.

    Much appreciated.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    BarberianBarberian Posts: 3,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection... PCGS
    Bill Bugert's series on Seated Liberty half die marriages.

    3 rim nicks away from Good
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    Bob13Bob13 Posts: 1,419 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would second "Bust Half Fever." IT really covers a lot of ground, is engaging, and talks about much more than just Bust Half dollars. It explains the minting process, talks about the history of the early mint, how some errors are made, how different people collect and appreciate these coins, etc. A good read.

    My current "Box of 20"

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    QCCoinGuyQCCoinGuy Posts: 325 ✭✭✭✭

    Another vote for Fraction Money by Neil Carothers.

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    So many good books on numismatics. Always liked "Adventures with Rare Coins" (Bowers)
    Also, since it's from before I became serious about coins, "Silver Dollar Fortune Telling" (Les Fox)

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    yspsalesyspsales Posts: 2,231 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Pleasure and Profit is a good read. A case by case basis for each coin purchase. Underrated book IMHO

    BST: KindaNewish (3/21/21), WQuarterFreddie (3/30/21), Meltdown (4/6/21), DBSTrader2 (5/5/21) AKA- unclemonkey on Blow Out

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    WilliamFWilliamF Posts: 832 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CaptHenway said:
    One of my favorite numismatic books has always been “The U.S. Mint and Coinage” by Don Taxay.

    Agreed, just got this one not too long ago from another forum member and it is very engaging and just chock full of info!

    ."It's a dangerous business... going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to" -JRR Tolkien_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Outstanding BST transactions as a seller, buyer and trader with: ----- mustanggt, Kliao, claudewill87, MWallace, paesan, mpbuck82, moursund, basetsb, lordmarcovan, JWP, Coin hunter 4, COINS MAKE CENTS, PerryHall, Aspie_Rocco, Braddick, DBSTrader2, SanctionII, Histman, The_Dinosaur_Man, jesbroken, CentSearcher ------ANA Member #3214817

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    TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 6,747 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @erwindoc said:

    I have enjoyed this one. As a date-by-date book, it gives much more than mintage info. I use it all the time to research potential purchases.

    I think I have to get that one.

    I thought I had everything on Barbers

    Frank

    BHNC #203

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    oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,639 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The body of work by QDB. Breen's half cent book is a beautiful work as are Rick Snow's IHC reference books. The Redbook.

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