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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 45, November 5, 2006, Article 4

"TRIBUTE EDITION" REPRINT OF FIRST REDBOOK PUBLISHED

I'm surprised none of our bibliophile readers picked up on this,
but Whitman Publishing announced in its ad in the October 16 edition
of Coin World that it plans to reprint the classic first edition
"Red Book."  The reprint would be distinguishable from the original
because of the insertion of a new full-color section which "compares
coin collecting of 1947 with the hobby of today." In the ad the "1947
Tribute Edition Red Book" is billed as "Your First-Class Passport
to Hobby History."  The 288-page hardcover is priced at $17.95 (with
a 500-copy autographed, leatherbound version available at $49.95).

Dennis Tucker of Whitman forwarded the press release for the book,
which includes some interesting facts about the book.  Here are
some excerpts:

"The 1947 first edition of R.S. Yeoman’s Guide Book of United States
Coins totaled 18,000 copies — a small quantity by today’s standards.
The “Red Book” quickly grew into the world’s most popular numismatic
reference, and one of the best-selling nonfiction books of all time.
Today an original first edition is a rare collector’s item, eagerly
sought, and worth hundreds of dollars.

In December Whitman will release the 1947 Tribute Edition Red Book:
a special commemorative reissue of the first Guide Book of United
States Coins. Every page is exactly as it appeared back then: every
word, every photograph, every coin value. It’s like opening a time
capsule of numismatic history.

At the back of the book you’ll find a full-color section comparing
coin collecting of 1947 with the hobby of today. Which coins have
skyrocketed the most in value? What significant coins have been
discovered since then? Which coin series have seen the most activity?"

The first print run of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the
“Red Book”), which debuted in November 1946, totaled 9,000 copies.
These sold so quickly that another 9,000 were printed in February 1947.

By 1959 more than 100,000 copies were being printed annually. The
1965 (18th) edition reached a peak of 1.2 million copies. That year
the Red Book was ranked fifth on the list of best-selling nonfiction
— ahead of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People
(at no. 6) and John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage (no. 9).

Since then production levels have followed the ups and downs of the
coin market. Perhaps even R.S. Yeoman, the book’s original author,
could not imagine that, by the 60th edition, collectors would have
purchased a total of well over 20 million copies."

[It will be interesting to see the reaction to the reprint.  It's
probably one that I would add to my library for information purposes
since I sold my original first edition a few years ago.  I don't often
sell my last copy of any book, but with the high prices that these
bring, I decided to part with it.

What affect might the reprint have on the resale value of the originals?
Will some scoundrel slice out the modern section and pawn the reprint
off as an original?  Numismatic bibliophiles rarely have to deal with
counterfeit or altered books, but we're not immune.  I'm anxious to
see the reprint to learn what other diagnostics help us to tell it
apart from the originals.

QUIZ QUESTION: How does one tell the difference between the first
and second printing of the first edition Red Book?  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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