Last week's item by John and Nancy Wilson on the special Redbook produced for the Whitman Philadelphia show was missing an illustration of the cover, which somehow got lost in the mail. Here it is.
One E-Sylum reader, though, is saying "Enough already!" with the various special editions.
I have a collection of "Redbooks" that is regarded as the one of the finest in existence. The point to the collection has never been in acquiring everything, nor has it ever been about personal recognition and boasting, nor has it been about its financial worth. The reason that it was begun in earnest and has continued for 20+ years is due to the passing of Mr. Richard Yeo (R.S. Yeoman) and the admiration for him as a person and a role model.
Using "The Numismatist" article by Ms. Ginger Rapsus as a basic guide I have collected virtually everything possible in that article and beyond as a tribute to Mr. Yeoman. In adding to the collection I have found that the greatest value came in the new friends and relationships that developed as a result. To Mr. Ken Bressett, my admiration for you equals that of Mr. Yeo because of your character. With all of this said, I have decided to stop actively collecting the "Redbook".
The recent publications of the "Philadelphia" and the "Professional" editions are literally "ENOUGH is ENOUGH"! All of the different and specialty versions of the "Redbook" that are and have been produced under the current ownership of Whitman are done so to exploit a market of collectors. NONE of these books are necessary or relevant. They are a waste of trees.
Because this vehicle is subscribed to by serious numismatists and bibliophiles they are the audience that is targeted to purchase and collect these prefabricated collectibles. They are purchased as a new collectible, they will remain as a new collectible, and they will be resold as a new collectible with the entire production remaining new and a copy being constantly available somewhere when a new collector wants one. There is no intrinsic value to them and the supply will always vary depending upon current demand. When a market correction takes place and the values drop substantially to more realistic values the collector base will shrink accordingly and demand will wane.
The "Redbook" and "Bluebook" are really OBSOLETE. The prices are outdated because they are compiled many months before publication. There are many other timely publications in print that state values and for up to the minute prices one has only look to the very computer they're reading this on to find what they need. The basic facts about coins can be found in many sources, but in a small concise format such as the "Redbook" it needs publication only sparingly.
The "Redbook" is just a "Guide Book" as it states and it no longer properly assists the non-collecting public in evaluating what they possess. This can't possibly be what Mr. Richard Yeo envisioned for his books. Please stop debasing the value of the "Redbook" with the frivolous production varieties.
Those are strong words. Although I sympathize with the statement, I wouldn't go so far. The market indeed sets the price in the long run, and it takes the decisions of a multitude of collectors to make a market. Each collector defines for themselves the parameters of the collections and sets they set out to assemble. As a bibliophile I've always been interested in special and unusual editions of the Redbook (and many other numismatic books). But they aren't worth a large premium to me. If someone else values a rarity more highly than me, more power to them - they can have it. Although I don't personally need or buy all of the various Redbook editions available today, I am glad that Whitman makes them available. To each his own.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: 2010 PHILADELPHIA EXPO RED BOOK
Wayne Homren, Editor
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