David Crenshaw (Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo) and Dennis Tucker (Whitman Publishing) submitted the following response to last week's item about the Red Book.
We'd like to take a moment to update E-Sylum readers on the special Philadelphia Expo edition of the 2010 Red Book. This version of the book was given as a gift to dealers at the 2009 Philly show, in honor of it being the first Whitman show in that venue, and extras are being sold to raise money for the National Federation of the Blind.
Copies are still available and can be "purchased" through Whitman for $50, to benefit the NFB (call 1-800-546-2995 and ask for the 2010 Philadelphia Expo Red Book, item #0794828191). All proceeds will be donated to support the Federation's efforts in Braille literacy and other programs. (We'd also like to remind collectors that the commemorative Louis Braille silver dollar issued by the U.S. Mint this year supports those same admirable programs.)
An anonymous writer in last week's E-Sylum misidentified the Guide Book of United States Coins, Professional Edition, as a "specialty version" or "collectible version" of the Red Book. I can understand his confusion since this is a new book building on an old title! The Professional Edition is actually its own animal --- an expanded resource that uses the same basic "look and feel" as the Red Book, but includes information aimed at intermediate to advanced coin collectors, professional dealers, auctioneers, investors, and researchers. This is very much a "workhorse" book; yes, it's pretty, but it's not supposed to sit in a safety deposit box as a collectible. It's a hands-on reference.
By the way, Ginger Rapsus's excellent article, mentioned in last week's issue, was "The Red Book Story," from The Numismatist 101, no. 9 (September 1988), pgs. 1561-1565. This is a great introduction to the Red Book as a numismatic collectible in its own right. Ginger's article was quoted several times in Frank Colletti's Guide Book of the Official Red Book of United States Coins (2009), which has been selling well and won a Numismatic Literary Guild award this year --- both good signs for numismatic bibliomaniacs.
Former American Numismatic Association Executive Director Bob Leuver adds:
I take exception to the writer who decreed that the Redbook is obsolete once it is printed.
I agree that coin prices change, sometimes dramatically, such as gold coins. The analogy is my computer, which is relatively new and the operating system is MS Vista. I did not chuck my computer the day after I bought it for, as everyone knows, computers become obsolete the first time you power them up.
The Redbook is a wonderful resource. I am not a dealer or avid coin collector, but I do research coins now and then. Perhaps several times a year I am approached by a novice collector or a widow, who has been left with a collection.
I always end up suggesting that the novice collector will learn something from the Redbook, or by comparing Redbook coin prices with past years. For that widow, I suggest coming to terms with a collection of U.S. coins by researching the Redbook, before contacting a dealer. These widows do not have collections that will inspire Heritage, Bowers & Merena or Stack's. But they are meaningful and have a value for the widows.
I have giving away more Redbooks than you will believe. I have none now. I have even given friends some prized books with Ken Bressett's personal inscription and autograph.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
STOP! ENOUGH OF THE SPECIAL REDBOOKS ALREADY!
Wayne Homren, Editor
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