Kentucky Colonel Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing wrote an article on Coin Update about Red Book Editor Jeff Garrett.
For many decades, starting in the 1930s, the city of Racine, Wisconsin, was home to the numismatic powerhouse of Whitman Publishing—the firm that popularized coin collecting during the Great Depression and World War II, mass-marketed coin boards and coin folders, and created the best-selling Guide Book of United States Coins (the hobby's popular
Red Book). Later, Whitman was managed in New York City, then for many years, it was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, where much of its editorial work still takes place.
And for the past several years, the Red Book has also had a vibrant Kentucky connection.
If you're 76 years young (or younger) and you collect American coins, the Red Book has always been a part of your hobby experience. The first edition was published in 1946, and more than 25 million copies have been sold since then. It's as much a part of the hobby community as coins themselves.
Kenneth Bressett tells the story of Whitman Publishing, and of the man who authored its most famous publication, in his memoir A Penny Saved: R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book.
Yeoman spearheaded the volume's creation and was the hobby's first
Mr. Red Book. After Yeoman, with whom he worked starting in 1959, Bressett was the second
Mr. Red Book. He's nurtured the Red Book for more than 60 years, as editor, senior editor, and finally (semi-) retiring as editor emeritus in 2018.
Jeff Garrett in his office and working on the Red Book
Who took over from Bressett as the third man in 75-plus years to hold the senior-editorial reins of the Red Book? That would be Jeff Garrett of Lexington, Kentucky.
Garrett is no newcomer to the Red Book, or to coins. He's been a life member of the American Numismatic Association since 1975, and served as the association's president from 2015 to 2017. He founded Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington in 1984. The firm has been in the same location for more than 30 years. He started the Bluegrass Coin Club in 1994, serves as a consultant to the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection, and for many years was the valuations editor of the Red Book.
I've known Jeff Garrett personally and professionally for almost 20 years and have published many of his award-winning books, including 100 Greatest U.S. Coins and the Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, 1795–1933. I know him not only as a businessman who understands the rare-coin market, but also as a numismatist, a researcher, and writer—someone who likely knows the answer to your coin-related question, or if he doesn't, knows where to find it.
The Bluegrass State can be proud to count Jeff Garrett as one of its most celebrated numismatic sons, just as Whitman Publishing is pleased to have his steady editorial eye on the Red Book.
To read the complete article, see:
From the Colonel's Desk: The Guide Book of United States Coins' Kentucky connection
Wayne Homren, Editor
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