2016 Blue Book with new illustrated coin-grading guide and more

2016-bluebook-coverThe newest edition of the Handbook of United States Coins debuts on May 6, 2015. Known to collectors as the Blue Book, it is the best-selling annual guide to wholesale prices paid by U.S. coin dealers. The 73rd edition, with a 2016 cover date, has been fully updated and expanded by 16 pages. It can be ordered online (including at Whitman.com) in two formats—hardcover at $12.95 and softcover at $9.95—and is also available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide. Members of the American Numismatic Association can borrow the book without charge from the Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library.

The Blue Book was introduced in 1942 as a resource for coin collectors to learn how much dealers were paying, on average, for U.S. coins. Whitman Publishing’s R.S. Yeoman, who was in charge of promoting the company’s line of coin boards and folders in the 1930s, realized that coin collectors needed other resources and supplies for their hobby, and he began compiling mintage data and market values. This coin-by-coin, grade-by-grade research grew into the Blue Book. It has been published every year since 1942 (except for 1944 and 1950), with millions of copies purchased by collectors and dealers.

The Blue Book features more than 25,000 wholesale valuations in up to nine grades per coin type. It covers U.S. coins from copper half cents through gold double eagles, plus commemoratives; Proof and Mint sets; silver, gold, and platinum bullion coins; private and territorial gold pieces; private tokens; and 1903–1945 Philippine coins struck under U.S. sovereignty.

The 73rd-edition Blue Book has 288 pages—16 pages more than the 72nd edition. The “Silver and Related Dollars,” “Commemoratives,” and “Bullion” sections have all been expanded. In addition, the 73rd edition includes three new appendices. The first is an illustrated essay on how to sell tokens and medals, including merchant tokens, Hard Times tokens, Civil War tokens, souvenir medals, political and presidential exonumia, Franklin Mint medals, transportation tokens, and others. The second new appendix is a report of the top 25 U.S. coin prices realized at auction, ranging from $1,840,000 for an 1873-CC dime to more than $10 million for a 1794 silver dollar. The third new appendix is an eight-page feature on “Grading Coins and How Grade Affects Value,” a photo-illustrated guide with enlarged grade-by-grade images for Wheat cents, Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters, Liberty Walking half dollars, and Morgan dollars. This section is designed to educate new coin collectors, as well as non-collectors who have inherited or otherwise acquired old coins.

“We’ve heard from many coin dealers who wanted a feature like this,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “Non-collectors who call coin shops often have no knowledge of grading, and they typically overestimate the condition of their coins. Grading is challenging to explain over the phone. The new Blue Book guides the reader visually, with compare-and-contrast photos of Good, Very Fine, and Mint State examples for six of the most commonly seen old coins.”

In addition to these new features, the 73rd-edition Blue Book now includes a helpful glossary of coin-collecting jargon, and a bibliography of books recommended for further hobby education.

The cover of the softbound 73rd edition shows three beautiful and historic American coins: a 1900 Barber half dollar, an 1836 Gobrecht silver dollar, and a 1993 Thomas Jefferson commemorative silver dollar.

“Before the Blue Book, collectors and dealers had no single, neutral source of detailed information and wholesale (buying) prices for every U.S. coin series,” said Q. David Bowers, past president of the American Numismatic Association and author of the Expert’s Guide to Collecting and Investing in Rare Coins. “If you own coins and you wonder ‘How much are they worth?’ you need a copy of the Blue Book.”


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