Fun with Yeoman's Guide; The "Red Book"

Ah, Yeoman's ever present coin books...probably the first book a coin collector owns.



Since PCGS began pricing online, Yeoman's Red Book has clearly slid downward in importance, influence and most importantly; accuracy.



Another thing about price lists is their ability to discourage you. How many people have NOT had the experience of great expectations being crushed by a price list? I can remember vividly the first lessons about a coin's condition. Example:



Young collector going through penny rolls from the local bank:

"Oo, Ooo! Look! It's a 1910-S!" I can just make out the date. It's gotta be worth big American dollars!" (He excitedly fumbles through his new copy of The Guidebook to U.S. Coins) "See! It says $100.00. Wow!"



His uncle, a wise old collector takes a look at the coin and the book and says in a deep, resonating voice; "Son, it's true; This coin would be worth $100 if uncirculated. Your coin, I'm sad to say is about a 2 or 3, AG2 or AG3. In that condition it might be worth $5. A dealer probably wouldn't even take it."

(Kid is crushed. It's only temporary but a hard lesson's been learned)



So fast forward: Today Red Books list the price of...(wait for it...)...OTHER Red Books! Listed just like a coin by date and condition. Got a 1st edition in mint condition? Why that's worth over $1,000.00! Got the rare 5th edition 1952/53? That is worth about $500 in VF.



I'm not even sure where this post is going. Hmmm...I know! Questions, I'll ask questions!



SO;



1) Do you still have a copy, any copy of one of the 70 editions? Which is your oldest?

2) Do you have an actual collection of Red Books? (like 2 or more?)

3) Do you have a rare edition? (including a 1st, 3rd, 5th ed.?)

4) Do you have any of the semi-rare ones? (a 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th ed.?)

5) Do you still look up coins in your Red Books when buying or selling?



Finally, one last thing. I promise. "FUN with Red Books"



What I find fun to do is look up rare coins in an early edition. Then, I laugh at how crazy low the prices are! I have a ratty, worn copy of the 8th ed. The price of a 1909 VDB Matte Proof is $9. NINE DOLLARS! Is that not funny?!



This is where old Red Books really come in handy. I'll show that to my wife and say, "See how much coins have appreciated over the years? Look how smart I am! The $10,000 I spent on that coin yesterday? Surely it will double in value again and again just as it has in the past." I know deep down she doesn't believe me and I really can't blame her. The beat up old book in my hand just doesn't look very official or important enough to bolster my case. We're both standing there thinking to ourselves in quiet desperation, "Hope we can get at least some of that 10K back someday..."
Lincoln coin lover, especially Matte Proofs

Comments

  • goldengolden Posts: 4,925 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have a complete set of Red Books and the 1st edition is a first printing.
  • dpooledpoole Posts: 4,829 ✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: golden

    I have a complete set of Red Books and the 1st edition is a first printing.




    Wow!



    I've been tossing mine every year when I get a new one.



    I guess that's why some of the older ones are rare. That's what my mother did with my comic books. You'd think I would have learned.... image






    "The trouble with quotes on the Internet is you never know if they are true"--Abe Lincoln



    Here's a warning parable for coin collectors...



  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,186 ✭✭✭✭
    I have the 6th and 9th editions, and plan to make some major purchases once prices return to these levels. image

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

  • cmerlo1cmerlo1 Posts: 6,607 ✭✭✭✭
    The first one I ever bought was the 1979 edition... I still have it. I buy a new one every few years, and probably have those in a box somewhere...
    You Suck! Awarded 6/2008- 1901-O Micro O Morgan, 8/2008- 1878 VAM-123 Morgan, 7/2013- 1983 No-S Proof Set
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 25,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have a complete collection of Red Books, but my first edition is from the second printing. I am more interested in the pricing information and the historical data provided in those books than worrying about what is in the footnote on the Morgan dollar page, which distinguishes the two sub varieties. I am very happy with my "reference quality" set of Red Books. I can thumb through them without having to worry about "circulating" them.

    And yes, a Mint State example of the first edition is worth $1,000 or more because it's rare. I wouldn't pay that for one, but I have bought and sold a worn first edition for just south of $200 many years ago.

    As for the low prices shown in early editions, those numbers are accurate. Collectors used to look for each new edition of the book with great anticipation. Back in the early 1960s, a job that paid $100 a week was good one, and in the mid '60s, $10,000 a year was a "big income." You have to put things into perspective.

    Does the average collector need to buy a new Red Book every year? No. But buying one every five or six years is not a bad idea. It's hard to find a U.S. coin numismatic reference book with that much information information in it for the price.
    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • deefree49deefree49 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: golden

    I have a complete set of Red Books and the 1st edition is a first printing.




    Awesome! Someone was selling a whole set on eBay for about $1300. I thought that was a pretty good price actually since someone else wanted that much for just the 1st edition. The set was in pretty nice shape while that single first edition didn't strike me as being that nice.



    The rarest issues are the 1st and 5th, both pretty expensive when and if you see them offered.



    Did you get them every year or buy them as a set?



    I have 8 of them, (2nd 1948) (5th 1952/53) (8th, 11th, 16th, 51st, 69th). I also got the 1947 tribute edition which came out in 2007. I really enjoy looking through the older ones.

    Lincoln coin lover, especially Matte Proofs
  • deefree49deefree49 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: BillJones

    I have a complete collection of Red Books, but my first edition is from the second printing. I am more interested in the pricing information and the historical data provided in those books than worrying about what is in the footnote on the Morgan dollar page, which distinguishes the two sub varieties. I am very happy with my "reference quality" set of Red Books. I can thumb through them without having to worry about "circulating" them.



    And yes, a Mint State example of the first edition is worth $1,000 or more because it's rare. I wouldn't pay that for one, but I have bought and sold a worn first edition for just south of $200 many years ago.



    As for the low prices shown in early editions, those numbers are accurate. Collectors used to look for each new edition of the book with great anticipation. Back in the early 1960s, a job that paid $100 a week was good one, and in the mid '60s, $10,000 a year was a "big income." You have to put things into perspective.



    Does the average collector need to buy a new Red Book every year? No. But buying one every five or six years is not a bad idea. It's hard to find a U.S. coin numismatic reference book with that much information information in it for the price.




    Bill, I agree with you on every point. Nice that you have the whole set. I envy you! As mentioned in reply earlier, there is a set on eBay right now and I was tempted. My wife kind of put the brakes on it by saying, "Where are you going to put them?" Well, I don't think they take up too much room but I think she was saying essentially, "You are nuts." I can't help it if I like to collect stuff!

    Lincoln coin lover, especially Matte Proofs
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 25,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I buy a new, old fashioned bond edition of the Red Book every year and actually use it through out the year until I get a new one. When I was a dealer I used to carry one of the spiral bound books. I would sell off the old one to a customer for a buck when the new one came out.
    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 25,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I bought a complete set of Red Books in the Mid 1980s. One of the guys who worked for JJ Teaparty put it up for sale in the store because he had upgraded his set to Mint and near Mint examples. It cost me $850.

    Some of the books in the 1970s are sleepers if they are in one piece. Whitman really got bad with bindings during that period, and a lot of them, including the ones I had, fell apart. All of the books in my set are whole, you had better believe that I am careful with any of those '70s editions when open them!
    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • RB1026RB1026 Posts: 1,284 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: BillJones

    I buy a new, old fashioned bond edition of the Red Book every year and actually use it through out the year until I get a new one.




    Yep! Me too. I do the same thing and look forward to getting each new edition. My first was in 1982. I still have it and most of the ones I've bought since then. Over time, I've given a few away to encourage a new collector here and there.



    I like the Red Book because it provides a tangible archive of new issues as well as updates about relevant discoveries within older series, all in one place. I don't pay much attention to the pricing information but use it more as a reference when comparing pieces in terms of relative scarcity/demand within a series. Overall, for many reasons, I still find it to be my favorite coin book.



    Roger W. Buenger, Author - About My Books
  • deefree49deefree49 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    One thing that really amazes me about the book is the wealth of information. Even in the early days, every denomination was well covered for condition, history and mintage numbers. The care that went into organizing all that information is highly impressive. You can pull out any year and seriously not find any misprints or errors. Even the printer did an excellent job lining up all those columns perfectly, page after page. This was in the day where a lot of that was done manually.



    I was joking around a bit with the O.P. but really I do find the early editions fascinating. The huge price increases can be mind boggling. I made a little chart for myself of some of my better coins. They literally went from single dollars to multiple thousands and that is far beyond the effect of inflation!



    I also have an early Blue Book (1948) and since those are supposed to be "dealer buy" prices, they are even more dramatic. Example; a 1921-S Buffalo in better condition was listed at 10 cents. Some of the early nickels were 6 cents!! That is a miniscule premium! Even completely rare issues today were listed in the low hundreds. I'm sorry not to have an example handy but I think it was a 1893-S Morgan. $200 uncirculated in 1948 (dealer buy price) Today you only see it for 6 figures in auction. Fascinating.
    Lincoln coin lover, especially Matte Proofs
  • halfhunterhalfhunter Posts: 2,764 ✭✭✭
    My first one was the 1966 edition. Still have it. Pretty well worn but not a mark in it. Also have the silver anniversary ed. and a few others.

    Girlfriend bought the super jumbo edition for me last year.



    HH
    Need the following OBW rolls to complete my 46-64 Roosevelt roll set:
    1947-P & D; 1948-D; 1949-P & S; 1950-D & S; and 1952-S.
    Any help locating any of these OBW rolls would be gratefully appreciated!
  • TopographicOceansTopographicOceans Posts: 6,545 ✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: BillJones
    Back in the early 1960s, a job that paid $100 a week was good one, and in the mid '60s, $10,000 a year was a "big income." You have to put things into perspective.

    In the 1977 movie Fun with Dick and Jane George Segal's character had a high paying executive job making $35,000 a year before he lost it and he and Jane Fonda went on a crime spree to keep their high lifestyle.

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 25,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: TopographicOceans
    Originally posted by: BillJones
    Back in the early 1960s, a job that paid $100 a week was good one, and in the mid '60s, $10,000 a year was a "big income." You have to put things into perspective.

    In the 1977 movie Fun with Dick and Jane George Segal's character had a high paying executive job making $35,000 a year before he lost it and he and Jane Fonda went on a crime spree to keep their high lifestyle.



    That $35,000 / year income was in the wake of a pretty nasty period of inflation during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Remember the "WIN" buttons? "Whip Inflation Now"
    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • PRECIOUSMENTALPRECIOUSMENTAL Posts: 971 ✭✭✭✭
    I certainly do remember the "WIN" buttons, and people wearing them.

    Probably have a few somewhere.
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 26,279 ✭✭✭✭
    The Redbook is a disaster for new collectors especially modern collectors. It lists coins like a 1982-P for $15 in Gem condition but even a nice BU that's well struck and ungraded sells on eBay up to $40. This has to nbe extremely misleading and discouraging for a new collector who doesn't understand what's going on. Who's going to want to pay $600 for a graded coin listed for $15?
    Tempus fugit.
  • TopographicOceansTopographicOceans Posts: 6,545 ✭✭✭✭
    It was pointed out the movie was remade in 2005 with Jim Carey and Tia Leoni.

    Using an inflation calculator, $35k in 1977 would have been $112k in 2005 and $137k today.

    WIN sure was a LOSER

    image
  • deefree49deefree49 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    I've gone a little bit nuts in the last couple of days, cherry picking some of the past editions off of eBay. Now I have:



    1948 2nd ed.

    1949 3rd ed.

    1951/52 5th ed.

    1955 8th ed.

    1956 9th ed.

    1958 11th ed.

    1963 16th ed.

    1972 25th ed.

    1979 32nd ed.

    1989 42nd ed.

    1998 51st ed.

    2006 59th ed.

    2010 63rd ed.

    2013 66th ed.

    2016 69th ed.

    Plus I nabbed a 1947 1st ed. "Tribute" from 2007.
    Lincoln coin lover, especially Matte Proofs
  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 1,887 ✭✭✭✭
    If 3 pages in the Red Book is not enough for you, you can buy an entire book about the Red Book collectible...

    [URL=http://s918.photobucket.com/user/e1cnr/media/e1cnr005/DSCF24351_zpstwqpn9lt.jpg.html]image[/URL]


    PS I have both printings of the 1at edition that I am selling in BST forum
  • JeffersonFrogJeffersonFrog Posts: 317 ✭✭✭
    edited July 15, 2018 11:20AM
    ...
  • I have or had a 1956 from when my dad was a kid, don't know if I still have it. I accumulated a thrift store collection of about 10 different editions at one point but probably tossed them or sold them in the dollar box.



  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭✭
    Or, if you prefer, follow the fall of prices in the PCGS price guide for memorial cents. More than one collector over the years has lost his/her a?? when they went to auction as oppose to what the true market value actually is. Its called education.

    I had a a full set of Redbooks including special editions and then wondered why I did. Still have the FUN 50th anniversary edition (58th edition for the Red Book) unopened in plastic seal bag I would love to sell. Make me an offer at [email protected]

    WS
    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 16,026 ✭✭✭✭✭
    At one time I owned all but the 3rd and 5th editions but I sold all of them back in the late 1980's. I currently have only the 66th edition (2013). I still use the book for basic reference but seldom pay much attention to the pricing. These days you really have be an expert in what you collect to really know much about pricing. If you aren't an expert in a given area pricing guides of all kinds can get you into trouble very quickly.
    All glory is fleeting.
  • goldengolden Posts: 4,925 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The first one that I bought was a 1962. I made the mistake of lending it to a SOB at work and never got it back. I have bought every edition each year since 1965. I purchased the older editions back in the 1980's.
  • deefree49deefree49 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    The main reason I like having older editions is to see the difference in prices over the years. It gives me hope for what I have. It also makes me scream for what I've let go.



    Lincoln coin lover, especially Matte Proofs
  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 3,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    If 3 pages in the Red Book is not enough for you, you can buy an entire book about the Red Book collectible...

    [URL=http://s918.photobucket.com/user/e1cnr/media/e1cnr005/DSCF24351_zpstwqpn9lt.jpg.html][/URL]

    PS I have both printings of the 1at edition that I am selling in BST forum

    Thanks for the note on my book.

    :) :D

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • rickoricko Posts: 59,432 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have several editions...not sure what years...none of the early one's though. @davewesen... I looked on the BST and did not see your listing for the books, at least not on the first two pages.... Now, I mostly use the big Deluxe Redbook.... makes a good quick reference for different things... Cheers, RickO

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 1,887 ✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    I have several editions...not sure what years...none of the early one's though. @davewesen... I looked on the BST and did not see your listing for the books, at least not on the first two pages.... Now, I mostly use the big Deluxe Redbook.... makes a good quick reference for different things... Cheers, RickO

    14 month old post, already sold

  • topstuftopstuf Posts: 10,524 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's "Coin Prices" from 1972...

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 3,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Some fun issues:

    photo ANA2014064_zps1f5a1174.jpg

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 3,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Treashunt said:
    Some fun issues:

    photo ANA2014064_zps1f5a1174.jpg

    All signed by Ken Bressett:

    Ken at the 2014 ANA when he signed my books.

    photo ANA2014010_zpsbd699678.jpg

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 3,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Red Book:
    Exonumia:

    Given out for the 50th anniversary of the Red Book, some with the coins.

    1947 - 1997 COMM HOLDER photo 1947RedBookcoinholder50thannivoutside_zpse5cbbb2c.jpg

    1947 - 1997 COMM HOLDER photo 1947RedBookcoinholder50thannivinside_zps5ac0ffea.jpg

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 3,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

    and early signed edition:

    11th Ed Signature photo 11thEdSignature_zps3c2c8327.jpg

    11th Edition photo 11thEdsigned_zps925a750a.jpg

    Frank

    BHNC #203

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