The classic hardcover version of the 71st-edition Guide Book of United States Coins (the hobby’s popular “Red Book”) celebrates the 225th anniversary of federal coinage in Philadelphia. On its back cover is a commemorative gold-foil portrait of David Rittenhouse, first director of the United States Mint, who was appointed by President George Washington in 1792. In addition to being the Mint’s first director, Rittenhouse was renowned as an astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, professor, public official, and crafter of scientific instruments. The first coinage under the Mint Act of 1792 consisted of half dismes (small five-cent coins made of silver), followed by copper half cents and large cents issued for circulation in 1793. Every copy of this year’s hardcover Red Book features the special portrait honoring David Rittenhouse and celebrating 225 years of U.S. Mint coinage.
Throughout this year, the United States Mint is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the 1792 congressional act, which also established the first Mint facility, in Philadelphia. Its social-media pages share factoids and human-interest stories (#MintMoments). Facebook and Twitter followers can search the hashtag #USMint225. The Mint’s YouTube page (youtube.com/user/USMINT) features videos of historical footage comparing old coin-production processes to those of the modern day.
Early in 2017 the Philadelphia Mint released Lincoln cents with a P mintmark—the first time a Philadelphia mintmark has ever been used for a one-cent coin—to celebrate the mint’s 225 years. In April the Mint released its 2017 high-relief .9999 fine gold American Liberty coin, with raised edge lettering (225th ANNIVERSARY) and the dual dates 1792 and 2017. Later in the year the Mint will offer silver medal versions of the same design in four different formats, one struck at each of three Mint facilities (Denver, San Francisco, and West Point) and two formats struck at Philadelphia.
The 71st-edition Red Book covers all of the Mint’s coins going back to 1792, including such popular issues as Indian Head cents, Wheat cents, Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Liberty Walking half dollars, Morgan silver dollars, and gold coins up to the $20 double eagle. Its coverage of modern coinage includes the newest commemorative issues, and circulating coins from Lincoln cents to America the Beautiful quarters and Native American dollars.
Other sections explore in detail colonial and early American coins and tokens; Proof and Mint sets; die varieties; Civil War tokens; private and territorial gold; Puerto Rican, Philippine, and Hawaiian coins; error coins; silver, gold, and platinum bullion; and other series in American numismatics.
The 71st-edition Red Book debuted March 30 at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. It is now available online (including from www.Whitman.com) and from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, in several formats. The commemorative hardcover version with David Rittenhouse’s portrait retails for $17.95.