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What Are Some Required Books for Beginning Coin Collectors

An often quoted saying in the coin collecting community is “Buy the Book Before the Coin”.  What exactly does that mean?  It simply means that you as a buyer should learn as much as possible about a coin or series before buying coins.  The price of a book related to your area of interest is a small investment compared to the money you might be able to save by knowing more about the coins you want to buy.

It is often stunning to me that some people will think nothing of spending thousands of dollars on a single coin but will balk at spending $30 on a book.  With that said, there are some great books for beginning collectors.  Let’s explore a couple of them: 

Coin World's Making the Grade: Comprehensive Grading Guide for U. S. Coinsicon

If you are going to be a serious coin collector, then you had better learn how to grade. As explained in the article, “Why are Some Coins Worth More Than Others?”,  the grade of a coin is one of the main factors in determining the value of a coin.  The difference of a single point in grade for a key coin can mean the difference in thousands of dollars in value and knowing this, can potentially save you from making a big mistake.  Clearly worth the value of any book.

In this case, “Making The Grade” is one of the better grading books out there as it contains pictures of most grades for many different series of coins.  While opinions do vary on grades, this books servers as a great guideline.  Here are some additional reviews for coin grading books


The Red Book comes out each year and is one of the most widely sold coin related books available.  The Red Book highlights each US series as well as bullion coins and colonial coins.  While the pricing info is retail and often not current, it is close enough for the collector to determine differences in values of certain coins.  Also, the book provides mintages of all US coins, major errors, metal contents and a little history.  This is an excellent book for the beginner as it will provide the beginner with basic info that may lead a collector to really determine what interests him/her.  Check out pricing for the annual RED BOOK

 The Expert's Guide to Collecting & Investing in Rare Coins: Secrets Of Successicon

Q. David Bowers has written several books related to coin collecting.  This book, while not specific to a certain series, is a great book to have, has it covers collecting, counterfeiting, market cycles, techniques to buying and selling, etc.  Each chapter is filled with hands-on advice.  While the book is now several years old, the advice is still relevant today.   You can check out pricing here.  Here are is some more information and other reviews of the Expert's Guide to Collecting and Investing in Rare Coins: Secrets of Success

 The Coin Collector's Survival Manualicon

This is another must have book.  As I write this, the book is in its 7th edition.  In other words, this book is continually updated with all the greatest changes in the coin market.  If you are new to collecting, the book will cover quite a bit, much of which may be new to beginning collectors. 

These are the books I recommend taking in consideration a limited budget.  Of course, you should form your own opinion as well as to read other reviews.  But if you are new to collecting, get some knowledge under your belt before spending thousands of dollars on coins you may live to regret. 

I highly recommend this book.  Here are some other reviews of the Coin Collector's Survival Manual 

As always, happy collecting.  

Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has US coins for sale. He also writes Coin Collecting Articles for fun. Visit his websites for a history of US coins, metal market updates and news about your favorite coins.

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