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How Important are Numismatic Reference Books and Publications?

Numismatic reference books can mean the difference in paying twice as much as you should for a particular item or selling an item for well below its true value. This can add up to some serious money and it's why I always recommend you buy reference material first.

I like the word "purchase" and say over and over again --

  • Purchase the book
  • Purchase its contents
  • Purchase the item

If you follow this recommendation, you'll be ahead of the game. Remember the expression "knowledge is power."

Anytime you broaden your knowledge of coins and currency it reinforces a sense of success and satisfaction knowing that when you speak on a particular numismatic subject to sellers, buyers, collectors, or friends they recognize that you are well versed and can hold your own in a buy-sell situation.

Many times I have purchased a bulk lot of paper money from a dealer or customer at a set price. I really enjoy that "pig in a poke" purchase, and having specialized references on hand, let's me analyze and value the lot. I like researching items and knowing if I've made a good investment.

When new or revised books hit the market, they generally wind up in my library and are always handy when I need them for reference. You won't need as many books as I do as a dealer, but as a customer, build a library with basic reference tools on the subject of numismatics you like, whether coins, paper money, tokens, medals, error notes, etc. to become knowledgeable in the subject.

If coins are your focus, then purchase the "Red Book, A Guide to U.S. Coins" by R. S. Yeoman. If you are interested in Unites States paper money look for "Paper Money of the United States" by Friedberg or "The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money" available from Krause Publications. There are weekly and monthly magazines such as Numismatic News, Coin World, and Bank Note reporter which will all keep you abreast of current events and trends and they even contain price guides updated frequently. These, and a few additional references are listed on the Books page of the site.