75th anniversary U.S. ‘Red Book’ largest ever at 464 pages

By Jesse Robitaille

Issued annually since 1946 and widely known as the “Red Book,” the 75th edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins was released by Whitman Publishing on April 6.

The 2022-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 valuable collections,” according to a statement from Whitman, which publishes the Red Book in several formats. 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 determined by Senior Editor Jeff Garrett and more than 100 contributors.

“Whitman relies on a nationwide group of active retailers, auctioneers, historians and other specialists with decades of experience,” said Garrett. “Thanks to their expertise, we have the most current and accurate market information and recent scholarship for every coin series.”

In addition to U.S. legal-tender coins dating from 1792 through the present day, the 2022 Red Book also lists colonial and post-colonial issues.

LOOKING INSIDE THE RED BOOK

The 2022 Red Book lists U.S. legal-tender coins dated from 1792 through the present day – from half cents to $20 gold double eagles, commemoratives, bullion plus earlier coins and tokens that circulated in the colonial era.

The U.S. Mint’s latest coins (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 specialized areas such as 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” and special modern gold coins. Altogether, there are 2,000 photographs, including enlarged close-ups of die varieties.

“In a single convenient volume, you get photographs and details on every U.S. series from the 1790s to the current year’s commemoratives and circulating coins,” said Research Editor Q. David Bowers, who described the annual publication as a “one-book library on American coins.”

“The Red Book makes mintage data, coin designs, specifications, grading instructions and market values easy to access and understand.”

RED BOOK AT AUCTION

The first printing of the original Guide Book of United States Coins – published in 1946 but dated 1947 – is sometimes offered at auction. Sales results typically range from $500-$1,000, depending on condition. Only 9,000 first editions were printed; however, another 9,000 copies were later published as the second printing, which only features one change (an updated sentence on page 135). More than 25 million copies have been sold since the first edition was published 75 years ago.

NOW AVAILABLE

Heritage Auctions offered a first-edition Red Book during a 2012 sale. Photo by Heritage Auctions.

To buy the 2022 Red Book from Coin & Stamp Supplies, a division of Trajan Media, visit coinstampsupplies.com, where both the spiral-bound and hardcover editions are available.

An expanded deluxe edition known as the “Mega Red,” which spans 1,504 pages, is also available. It lists 8,200 items in up to 13 grades each plus 47,000 individual values, 15,800 auction records and 6,000 images.

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