The 74th edition of the coin-collecting hobby’s annual Guide Book of United States Coins (popularly known as the “Red Book”) will debut April 7, 2020. The new volume includes completely updated pricing and auction data reflecting the current market for collectible U.S. coins, along with historical information and guidance on how to build a valuable collection. The Red Book can be pre-ordered online (including at Whitman.com) in several formats, and after April 7 will be available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide.
Coin collectors have used the Red Book to value their collections since the 1st edition was published in 1946. Senior Editor Jeff Garrett attributes the book’s strength to its network of experts. “Whitman relies on a system of more than a hundred professional coin dealers, researchers, and other specialists from around the country,” Garrett said. “Their expertise covers every segment of American coinage—not just in accurate real-world pricing, but also in the latest discoveries in numismatic scholarship.”
Research Editor Q. David Bowers said, “The Red Book is the one reference I keep handy when buying, selling, or writing about coins. Every year it becomes more valuable for hobbyists and researchers. The 2021 edition is the best yet.”
Editor Emeritus Kenneth Bressett noted, “There have been ups and downs in the market over the past twelve months. Studying the Red Book gives smart collectors an understanding of the trends across all U.S. coin series.”
The 74th-edition Red Book is 464 pages long and prices nearly 8,000 entries in up to 9 grades each, with more than 32,000 retail valuations in total. Its panel of retail-pricing contributors includes more than 100 active coin dealers and market analysts with decades of experience.
The book covers United States coins from 1792 to date, from half cents to $20 gold double eagles, commemoratives, and bullion, plus earlier coins and tokens that circulated in colonial times. The latest coins from the United States Mint—Lincoln cents, Jefferson nickels, Roosevelt dimes, America the Beautiful quarters, Kennedy half dollars, Native American dollars, American Innovation dollars, commemorative coins, bullion coins, and government-packaged coin sets—are kept up to date. The book also includes error coins, Civil War tokens, Confederate coins, Philippine coins struck under U.S. sovereignty, private and territorial gold pieces, pattern coins, Hawaiian and Puerto Rican coinage, Alaska tokens, So-Called Dollars, special modern gold coins, and other specialized topics.
These are illustrated by 2,000 photographs, including enlarged close-ups of rare and valuable die varieties.
Inside the 74th edition Red Book:
New commemorative coins. The 74th-edition Red Book features coins from the Mint’s new 2020 commemorative programs. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame program includes half dollars, silver dollars, and five-dollar gold coins. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial program calls for a commemorative silver dollar.
Other new U.S. Mint coins and sets. The 74th edition includes 119 new Mint products added since the 73rd edition. Mintages have been updated across the board using the latest numismatic research and government-supplied data.
Collectors will also find complete coverage of the full range of American Eagle and other popular bullion coins and sets (in silver, gold, platinum, and palladium), with mintages and values for each.
A study of foreign coins that circulated in America. The 74th edition continues a section that debuted with the 70th: an overview of foreign coins that circulated as legal tender in the British American colonies and in the United States until the late 1850s. This section includes photographs, history, and pricing for collectible Spanish-American, Dutch, French, and English coins dating from the 1550s to the 1820s.
Recent research and the latest Mint data. Updates based on recent scholarship can be found in sections including pre-federal coins and tokens, Heraldic Eagle Bust dollars, and California fractional gold. Modern-coin updates include new information on the 2019 and 2020 West Point cents and nickels; the Mint’s change from .900 fine to .999 fine silver; the American Innovation dollar program; American Palladium Eagles; the new George H.W. Bush Presidential dollar; and updates to all ongoing Mint programs.
Auction records. As in past years, collectors benefit from the Red Book’s recent auction records provided for significant rare coins. Typeset throughout the charts are nearly 200 notable auction results. Combined with the listed retail prices, the auction data help advanced collectors understand the modern market for high-priced rarities.
In addition, the appendix of the “Top 250 U.S. Coin Prices Realized at Auction” has been fully updated. More than 100 auction sales were higher than $1 million each. The coin at #250, an 1880 Coiled Hair $4 gold Stella, sold for $618,125, which is more than $14,000 higher than last year’s coin in that ranking.
A bibliography for further research. In a positive measure of the health of the hobby and ongoing numismatic research, the Red Book’s newly revised and updated bibliography includes more than two dozen standard references published over the past five years.
The cover of the spiral-bound 74th edition shows a mix of old and modern American coins: an 1898 Barber half dollar; a 1787 Immunis Columbia copper (bearing the words E PLURIBUS UNUM); and a 1986 Statue of Liberty commemorative half dollar, with sculptor John Mercanti’s “A Nation of Immigrants” design.
All versions and formats (hardcover; spiralbound hardcover; spiralbound softcover; and Large Print) of the 74th-edition Red Book will be available online, and at bookstores and hobby shops nationwide.