Welcome to the library! These are all the books and resources I use to get an idea of what a coin or U.S. paper bill is worth. You’ll see those massive World Coins books on the left to give me a picture of foreign values, as well as a handful of U.S. coin-related value guides on the right.
If you ever want help looking up a coin, lemme know! Happy to pop open one of these bad boys for you and check it out :) Just shoot me the info you have, as well as a picture if possible, and I’ll take care of the rest…
Here’s what my library holds:
- A Guide Book of United States Coins (The Official “Red Book”) 2016 [69th ed. by Kenneth Bressett] — This is by far the best book to look up coin values for a collector, especially a new one such as myself (It’s the #1 best-selling price guide). It shows you thousands of pictures along with their worth across grade scales, tons of info and description for each coin, the background and history of our coin system, mintage numbers, error info, bullion values, and more. You’ll never find the *true* value until you go to sell/trade it, but it’ll give you an excellent idea of what you’re dealing with in seconds. [$11 on Amazon]
- A Guide Book of United States Tokens and Medals [by Katherine Jaeger] — This one’s perfect if you collect, or are interested in, tokens over the past few hundred of years. I liked this quote on the back “Since the 1700’s, Americans have used tokens and medals to encourage business, lampoon politicians, celebrate special events, pay fares, promote social causes, award the deserving, and scold the wicked. ” Tons of pictures and values in here too (though it is 6 years old) [$15 on Amazon]
- Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000, 2013 [40th ed. by Cuhaj/Michael] — These books are MASSIVE, and span almost every country in the world making it easy to find what your foreign coins are worth. There are so many countries/pictures/values listed that they had to break each book down by *century*! But they’re nice to have on hand, even an older copy, if you frequently cross a bunch of non-U.S. coins and like immediate satisfaction ;) Their price tags aren’t for the faint of heart, though. [$60’ish on Amazon]
- Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 2013 [7th ed. by Cuhaj/Michael] — Same as above, only for the century below. These things are like phone books! [$50’ish on Amazon]
- A Guide Book of United States Currency [5th ed. by Kenneth Bressett] — This book’s great if you want a quick and dirty value for any US paper money. Including large-size notes, small-size notes, or fractional money. Plus it’s just cool to peer through them and see how ornate our old dollars used to be :) [$15 on Amazon]
- Grading Coins By Photographs [2nd ed. by Q. David Bowers] — I love this book so much because it shows you *pictures*, and info, of all the different grades across all major coins! So you can literally place your coin right next to it to get a really good sense of its grade. You still have to know what you’re generally doing with grading, but it’s a nice cheat sheet to get you going ;) [$15 on Amazon]
[UPDATE: I now have the 1990, 1996, 2013, 2015 and 2016 versions of the Red Book too. Just lazy to take new pictures ;)]
So those are all my most up-to-date reference books I have currently. But you’ll notice a few others up at the top including a REALLY old one (and my personal favorite!).
These are my older reference guides:
- A Guide Book of United States Coins 1948 [2nd ed. by R.S. Yeoman] — 2nd edition!!! I’ll have to blog about this later, but I picked this up for literally nineteen cents last year at a book auction – it was wild. If any of you have seen the price guide on these in the back of your newer “Red Books” (isn’t that funny, btw? A price guide itself being valuable?), you’ll notice this particular edition is valued anywhere from $80-$350 depending on condition – pretty cool! And it’s even more so seeing what coins were worth over 60+ years ago :) Before the numbered grading system too (most grades in the book are just “good,” “fine,” and “uncirculated”). If you want me to look up one of your favorite coins in it I’ll happily do so!
- A Guide Book of United States Coins 1998 [49th ed. by R.S. Yeoman] — The 49th edition isn’t as cool, haha… but a lot of coins do drastically differ still.
- A Guide Book of United States Coins 2013 [66th ed. by R.S. Yeoman] — This was the first edition I picked up when I started collecting – not that many years ago ;)
- Handbook of United States Coins (The Official “Blue Book”) 2013 [77th ed. by R.S. Yeoman] — This one I picked up thinking I’d reference a lot when trying to sell coins to dealers (it’s the one they supposedly use to make offers – though I think now it’s more about the “Grey Sheet?”), but it turns out that A) I never sell them any coins, and B) I’ve never once cracked it open ;) So by all means, give me a reason to open this up so I didn’t have to waste $15!
I’ll update this over time as I get more… but I think it’s time to start spending money on coins now, over books ;) Holler anytime if you can use any of these!