74th-edition ‘Red Book,’ sixth ‘Mega Red’ now available

Updated July 16, 2020.

Issued each year since 1947 and known by its many users as the “Red Book,” the 74th edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins was released Whitman Publishing this April.

This 2021-dated volume includes updated pricing and auction data reflecting the current market for U.S. coins plus “historical information and guidance on how to build a valuable collection,” according to a press release issued by Whitman. Its 464 pages list nearly 8,000 coins, each with upwards of nine grades, for a total of more than 32,000 retail estimates. These values are partly determined by contributors that include “more than 100 active coin dealers and market analysts.”

The deluxe-edition “Mega Red,” meanwhile, was released by Whitman this May. It spans 1,504 pages with 8,200 items in up to 13 grades each plus 47,000 individual values, 15,800 auction records and 6,000 images.

“Whitman relies on a system of more than a hundred professional coin dealers, researchers and other specialists from around the country,” said Senior Editor Jeff Garrett. “Their expertise covers every segment of American coinage – not just in accurate real-world pricing, but also in the latest discoveries in numismatic scholarship.”

The 2021 ‘Red Book’ also highlights colonial and post-colonial coins and tokens.

The book covers U.S. coins from 1792 to date—from half cents to $20 gold double eagles, commemoratives, bullion plus earlier coins and tokens that circulated in the colonial era. The latest coins from the U.S. 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 also updated.

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. Altogether, there are 2,000 photographs, including enlarged close-ups of die varieties.

A first-edition ‘Red Book’ was offered at auction in 2012.

“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,” said Research Editor Q. David Bowers. “The 2021 edition is the best yet.”

A “first printing” of the original  1947 Guide Book of United States Coins was offered (but went unsold) in a May 2012 sale by Heritage Auctions in Long Beach, Calif. The book was one of 9,000 printed for the first edition of the Red Book.

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