Jeffrey P. LaPlante submitted this review on the new edition of
The Authoritative Reference on Lincoln Cents by John Wexler and Kevin Flynn.
Every once in awhile, a numismatic book is written with the audience clearly in mind, and this is that tome. The Authoritative Reference on Lincoln Cents by John Wexler and Kevin Flynn was first written in 1996.
This second edition picks up nicely where that first edition left off and adds an immense amount of valuable material. The information presented encompasses a wide range of topics on the subject written by the authors and includes several additional articles contributed by well respected numismatists Jason Cuvelier, Michael Fahey, Jamie Hernandez, J.P. Martin, and B.J. Neff.
The reference begins with the history of the ubiquitous and highly collected Lincoln cent, from Victor David Brenner's iconic wheat back, up to and continuing with the words of Frank Gasparro; the man who designed the memorial cent. The history of the Lincoln cent is very interesting and Flynn and Wexler have not wasted any pages in the discussion. The history is followed by a very valuable section on how to use the book and the reader will need to come back to this reference often. The die variety reference system, cross referencing, identifying characteristics, and pricing guide are explained.
The next section contains important information on hub and transitional design changes, and a cross referencing section to help the novice as well as the advanced collector. The amount of changes within the Lincoln cent series could lend itself to a small type collection in and of itself. Speaking of collecting the there is also a detailed description of Lincoln cent grading with photographs and example specimen for both hub and transitional design changes.
The next two hundred or so pages of the volume will become the tomes pièce de résistance and encompass for die variety collectors what amounts to an almost complete study of the hobby. The Lincoln cent variety collector would be less effective without this reference and therefore The Authoritative Reference on Lincolns Cents Second Edition is a must have for the die variety collector. In the past this level of detail and study was left to a small branch of folks within the hobby. It had been the endeavor of very serious and meticulous individuals. However over the past few years this sector has become a very popular pastime for new and re- invigorated collectors. The possibility that a couple of hundred dollar Lincoln cent may be retrieved from pocket change can't hurt either.
In the next section is a well written article on "Trial Dies" by B.J. Neff. What is a trial die you might ask? Well if you must know they are a die variety much like a doubled die and more which is explained in detail by the authors. The articles that follow explain Lincoln cent authentication, doubled dies, repunched mintmarks, over mint marks, as well as transitional varieties and even give the reader an advance knowledge of where the hobby may be headed in the next few years. This is very well written for the advanced collector with an eye on the future of the coin market.
The authors have hit the bull's eye with this volume, it is fascinating and informative, and presents hundreds of photographs. Flynn and Wexler capitalize on the importance of die varieties in this volume and they do so in a methodical manner. The explanation of the die hub process is spot on and the section which explains the various types of hub issues affecting the planchet are detailed to a fine degree. This is one of the most fascinating aspects of the volume and enlightens the reader on the coin production process. This background material is the perfect way to lead into the subject of die varieties for which this volume might well just stake its claim as the seminal work to date on that subject. For my two cents this book is a must for the Lincoln cent collector. It is an easy book to find your way around and yet the amount of information presented is encyclopedic but more than often to the point.
The Authoritative Reference on Lincoln Cents Second Edition by John Wexler and Kevin Flynn can be found at either
QUICK QUIZ: Why does a 1974 cent rate the cover photo? What's so special about it?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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