CMCC's Blog

20 Feb 2016

Comparison of Red and Blue Books


I recently, for my birthday, got a 2016 Blue Book from a friend of mine. I noticed many differences, like a G-4 Common Indian Head Cent being worth $2.00 in Red and $0.80 in Blue, a G-4 1909-S V.D.B. worth $800 in red and $450 in Blue, and even the 1894-S dime, $1,500,000 in Red and $600,000 in Blue.
Why the differences? I noticed at the beginning that the Red Book lists the retail value of the coins, while the blue book lists the average price that coin dealers will pay. I decided to value my collection according to the blue book, and it turned up embarrassing results, as my collection was not even valued at $1,000. I recently started up my cmccs*coins, my eBay business. I have found the Blue book to be very useful in figuring out the price I should pay for coins that I am considering purchasing, and the Red Book helps me value the coins that I want to list on eBay.

For instance, the Blue Books lists average Very Fine Peace Dollars at $19-20, and I can cherrypick AU coins and get them for $19 apiece. The red book values the coins at $28-30, so I sell them at about $25 apiece. I buy a roll of 20 for $380 and sell them for $500, the fees and shipping bring the price down to approximately $410, a $30.00 gain.
I love the Blue Book!!!


Pliny The Elder

Level 5

Great blog. No collector should ever read the Blue Book. Ha ha ha. Ouch.


Level 2

I am trying to get my hands on new Blue Book 2016 don't see any around yet.


Level 4



Level 7

The blue book is why people shop around for the best price. I never sell to a dealer even if I was broke!


Level 5

Wow! I never knew that. I did know dealers would never by coins for full read book price but now i know why they buy them for quite a bit less ( yes i know they still need to make a profit)


Level 5

The blue book as I too found out the hard way is the dealer bible describing what dealer to dealer transactions are guided by. The red book is what full retail transactions are guided by. As you wisely discovered somewhere in between is the target for most collectors!

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