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The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 24, June 12, 2011, Article 7

BOOK REVIEW: STRIKE IT RICH WITH POCKET CHANGE, 3RD EDITION

John and Nancy Wilson submitted this review of the latest edition of a book on U.S. error coinage by Ken Potter and Dr. Brian Allen. Thanks! -Editor

Strike it Rich With Pocket change 3rd ed Strike It Rich – With Pocket Change – Error Coins Bring Big Money, 3rd Edition by Ken Potter and Dr. Brian Allen is an inexpensive reference which will get everyone looking through their change for that scarce coin that will be worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in profit. We know that other coin books on error coins have been written, and we have some of them in our library. This soft cover book has 352 pages that contain many illustrations of just about every modern error coin that can make you money. The enlargement of the illustrations makes it very easy to see the error on the coin(s). All the illustrations are in black and white. As the book states, "There is no need for previous knowledge to get started."

When you open up the cover of the book, you cannot miss in the lower left the words “No Experience Needed.” These are key words because the book is so well written that you can open it up to any page and find great information on some coin that you probably knew nothing about. Go to page 116 in the book, and it has information on, The “Perfect” Circulation Strike which shows a 2003 Lincoln Cent in MS-70 Red which sold in a Teletrade Auction for $13,500. The authors state that the chance of finding a “perfect” coin in circulation is remote. They tell the reader to “Look at: Uncirculated Coinage, especially “Bank Wrapped” rolls.” Look for: High grade examples.”

The well done Foreword by John Wexler lets you know that, “By becoming familiar with the contents of this book you may soon be finding some truly valuable coins for face value.” We wholeheartedly agree with this quote and recommend this reference for beginning collectors, advanced collectors, coin dealers and treasure hunters. Both of these authors are experts and well known leaders in the field of error coins. Ken Potter has a web page which is updated with new discoveries and absolutely full of interesting information about error coins. http://koinpro.tripod.com.

The Table of Contents is the nuts and bolts of this publication. If you recently purchased this book you can go immediately to the page(s) containing the coin you think might be something special. If you have a coin that isn't listed, you truly might have something that will be very valuable. You will find coins listed from 1959 to 2009 including information on the 50 State Quarters (1999 - 2009), and the U. S. Presidential Coin Program. You will find a lot of useful information regarding just what error coins are.

We liked the Chapter on, "Valuable vs. Other Forms of Doubling." The seven pages containing this information will be all you will ever need if you wondered just what doubling on a coin meant. "Planchet Errors and Varieties," is another Chapter in the book that will explain in excellent detail information regarding these errors. If you find an error coin, the Chapter on, "Buying and Selling Error, Variety Coins," contains 15 pages of information. You will find all the sources that will help you dispense of, or find more information regarding the coin you wish to sell.

You will also find applications to join the American Numismatic Association - ANA – www.money.org, Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America - CONECA – www.conecaonline.org, and the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling - NCADD – www.ncadd98.org. Following this Chapter, you will find information regarding, Myths About Various Coins. It starts out with the Wheat Cent, including the 1943 Varieties. A quote in the book is "Age Does Not Always Equal Value," is certainly true in several areas, especially when it comes to the Wheat Cent. They have been replaced over 50 years ago with the Memorial Cent. Today, it would be very difficult to find a bag of Wheat Cents that haven’t been searched, “numerous times.”

Following the Wheat Cent are the Bicentennial Coins, Susan B. Anthony Dollars, Double Headed (usually a Quarter) Coin, Common Novelties (Coins that have added engravings such as a State outline and Presidential face) and finishing with Coins with No Mintmarks. Some "Common Currency Questions" and how to find a "Web Note" is also contained in this reference. The information on "Circulating Silver Coinage" will be useful to the beginning collector. Information on "Tissue Overlay" detection of Silver Coins was very interesting and will show you how to detect 1965 Washington Quarters that were struck on a silver blank.

The one page information on the Estimated Silver-Coinage Value Chart (provided by Krause Publications), will give you values of the Jefferson War Nickel, Roosevelt Dime, Washington Quarter, Kennedy Half (90% and 40% Silver). You can quickly see the prices per ounce from $5.50 to $15.50. These figures are very low today. Hopefully a 4th Edition will contain values up to $50.

"Coin Terms And Definitions," the "Bibliography," "Recommended Reading" and a page on "Final Tips" finishes out the book and we like the quote, "Perseverance is the key to Strike it Rich with Pocket Change. We like the famous quote, "A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted." If perchance you pass on a rare coin to someone, and they later tell you about it, you will shake your head and wonder why you didn't look at the coin before passing it on. Al Jolson sang the song, “Brother Can You Spare A Dime,” which had become popular during the Great Depression. Who knows, the dime that was given to someone during the depression could have been a rare date or variety. Today, you could pass on a rare dime or other coin to someone and later find out about it. A little knowledge would have prevented this from happening.

All the Chapters in the book are interesting and fun to read. Numismatic education is power, and if you read only a small part of this book it can help you to make money in an area you never thought possible. These authors have hit the jackpot and authored a reference that will help everyone in their knowledge and pursuit of error coins. It is a super bargain at the retail price of $19.99 (it recently was reduced to $13.59) from the publisher at: Krause Publications, a division of F + W Media, Inc., 700 East State Street, Iola, WI 54990-0001, (715) 445-2214 or (888) 457-2873 or visit www.krausebooks.com

Wayne Homren, Editor

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