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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 53, December 31, 2006, Article 7

BOOK REVIEW: 2007 LIMITED EDITION GUIDE BOOK OF U.S. COINS

While we're on the topic of the Red Book, I thought I'd take a look
at the latest deluxe leatherbound version, the 2007 "Limited Edition".
I missed out on picking up the 2006 version, but I have the 2005 and
2007 versions in front of me for comparison.  Both are of the same
rich-looking red leather with glit lettering, full gilt edges and
four raised spine bands.  Both are signed by editor Ken Bressett and
limited to 3,000 copies.  For the record, my copies are numbered 1,686
and 2,209, respectively.

There are a number of differences to be found in the two volumes,
however. The 2005 copy number is hand-written, while the 2007 number
is printed or stamped.  Another difference is that the 2007 edition
is understandably a big thicker. The title page is also different -
the 2005 edition credits Ken Bressett as editor; in 2007 the title
page adds Q. David Bowers as Research Editor and Jeff Garrett as
Valuations Editor.  Another difference affects every single page -
where the 2005 edition has a decorative gold border on each page,
the 2007 edition substitutes a color-coded section banner, a much
handier use of spare ink.  Finally, the 2007 edition contains a
four-page "Tribute to Kenneth Bressett," honoring his long service
to the Red Book.  The tribute opens with a full-page version of
Chuck Daughtrey's drawing of editors R. S. Yeoman and Ken Bressett.

The remaining introductory text has also been updated in ways large
and small.  While many paragraphs in the 2007 edition are unchanged
from 2005, others have been completely updated or rewritten.  Most of
us I'm sure are guilty of skipping over this material year after year,
assuming (quite incorrectly) that nothing has changed.  But it DOES
change, as more information becomes known, errors are detected, and
each person associated with the project has their opportunity to
interject their personal knowledge, taste and style.

As just one example, the 1947 edition refers to "The Articles of
Confederation, adopted July 9, 1778..." but by 2007 this had been
corrected to read "adopted March 1, 1781."   The first date is when
the prepared copy was ready for signing; the second date is the
actual final ratification date.

My own tiny contribution was to correct the home of Frank Vittor,
designer of the Gettysburg Half Dollar - the 1st edition said he was
a Philadelphia sculptor and this was carried forth year after year
until I wrote to Ken Bressett documenting my research proving he was
a Pittsburgher.

It would be an interesting exercise to review the book year by year
and chronicle the evolution of its text.  If any of our readers would
like to make a parlor game of it, send me a list of any significant
year-to-year differences you know of and I'll compile them in a future
E-Sylum issue.

In summary, the leatherbound editions are quite handsome, with all
the useful features of the regular edition with some very nice
additional touches.  I wish all my numismatic books had gilt edges
(at least on the top) for easy cleaning.  The leather cover and spine
bands look beautiful on the shelf.  As always, it's a fine one-volume
reference on the topic.  Buy the spiral versions for heavy-duty
down-and-dirty coin show or desk work, but keep the leatherbound
ones clean for quiet review and study.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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