coinfodder's Blog

09 Sep 2020

How to Build a Numismatic Library of Repute

ANA Library | coinfodder

Hello Folks. And today, we will learn how to construct a numismatic library that will serve you for years.

The importance of a library has been known for thousands of years. The Egyptians at Alexandria kept one of the largest libraries on Earth, containing thousands of scrolls. And with coin collecting, a selection of books and other resources is of paramount importance to the collector. So, lets hop right into it!And no, if I mention Whitman or Krause products, just know that this is not a running ad for them.

To many collectors, the price guide is the most important single book in a coin library. Many, for 70+ years, have relied on the Red Book of Coins for their go-to price guide. Some, instead of buying a hard copy, refer to an online website or app, such as PCGS's CoinFacts. In all honesty, however, I much prefer the hard copy, due to the fact I cannot be on the computer 24/7. I own 4 copies of the Mega Red Book of Coins. These are important because they not only give you a brief history of the coin, but they also provide photos, grading advice, and prices and condition. Many of these also have a reference section in the front of the book, providing important information about coin collecting as a whole.

Next, are the individual coinage type guides, i.e. the Bowers Series. These provide an even more in depth overview over the specific coin you are collecting than any general interest price guide can provide you. These guides are purposely dedicated to type that they are covering. They provide an in-depth price guide, and normally provide an appendix that has cool information. For example, the shield and liberty nickels Bower's Series guide comes with four sections about the nickel's use in the everyday lives of Americans living at the turn of the century. For the investor and the collector who collects one type of coin, these guides are a must have. I like learning about different coins and reading about them, so I am crazy enough to try to collect all 23 Bowers Series books.

Also of importance, are the investor's guides, such as Beth Deisher's "Cash in your Coins". These guides appeal to the investor, who is looking to sell rare and valuable coins at a profit. These guides have the best advice on how to invest on coins wisely. They distill common sense into the investor. For example, you could learn NOT to pay $2,000,000 on a coin that should be $1,000,000, therefore and so-forth.

Next, are the counterfeit guides. Always of importance, these tell you how to avoid making common mistakes when buying rather valuable coins. An example includes Bill Fivaz's "United States Gold: Counterfeit Detection Guide." However, collectors are to be warned that no guide can list every single type of counterfeit out there.

And finally, we have the works of prose and history books, such as Garrett and Moran's "1849: The Philadelphia Mint Strikes Gold." These are cool, not for their collecting reference ability, but the fact that they are cool reads. Some discuss the shipwrecks like the S.S. Central America, and other topics of interest.

Thanks, and we will continue on our road trip later.



Level 5

Good reference material. I thought I was doing wrong when I finally became active last year. I read blogs and never posted, I purchased and read books, both physical and electronic versions. I went to coins shows and made no purchases, just looked and looked. Finally after about 10 months I became active on this site and guess what everyone's advice to me as a new person was? Buy the book first. So I appreciate your blog. If any new person is lurking and reading like I did. Buy the Book, read, learn, then buy the coin. And finally never forget to ask the folks here, they will help you. Thanks for the info and reference material.


Level 5

Good advice. I regret downsizing my library when I moved.


Level 6

Very well done. All great books. I was luck enough to have Bill Fivaz as my mentor/guide during my online classes. Great man. Thanks.

Some collectors are so focused on saving money for a specific coin they leave out important money for books. Knowledge will always be useful.


Level 5

Nice post. Our coin club is looking for someone to monitor a club library. Maybe if we get the library going. These tips will come in handy.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I have a Mega Red. I would also recommend The Official ANA Grading Standards for U.S. Coins. A step by step to grade your coins with pictures and descriptions of various grades for each coin.


Level 5

Yes. I have both of those.


Level 6

I would wholeheartedly agree with your recommendations. (:

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