World Coins

Ninth edition of 'Gold Coins of the World' book ready

The ninth edition of Gold Coins of the World, by Arthur L. Friedberg and Ira S. Friedberg, is now available from book sellers.

Images courtesy of Coin & Currency Institute.

When someone refers to the Friedberg book in the numismatic community, they are often referring to the standard reference for U.S. paper money and its cataloging system. But another standard reference by the same brother authors exists, and it is now available in a massively expanded edition.

The last edition of Gold Coins of the World, by Arthur L. Friedberg and Ira S. Friedberg, was published eight years ago, in 2009. That edition — the eighth — and each one before it descended from the original, groundbreaking 1958 work by their father, Robert Friedberg, whose cataloging and numbering system revolutionized the way gold coins are collected. “It changed the face of world-gold collecting at that time, and it remains unparalleled in its scope and universal usage today, nearly six decades later,” the authors write. “Collectors and dealers around the world rely on the Friedberg Numbering System to systematically identify and study any gold coin ever made.” 

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Now, the Friedberg legacy is renewed yet again with the all-new ninth edition of Gold Coins of the World, containing approximately a thousand new listings not in the previous edition. Three years in the making, the newest edition calls on the expertise of a numismatic who’s-who of more than 100 expert contributors and consultants from around the globe.

Like each edition before it, the ninth expands on its predecessor, digging more deeply into new areas of collector interest, and expanding many sections, the authors say. It includes a complete revision of the coinage of the Ottoman Empire, and adds many new discoveries for dozens of countries. 

An expanding universe

From the 384 pages of the 1958 edition, the work has expanded to 832 pages, which have been completely revised and updated. The authors have listed more than 22,000 coin types, which are illustrated with more than 8,500 photos — nearly all of them new to this edition. Each country’s section includes tables of weight and fineness, and market valuations are provided in two states of preservation. 

“Many of the prices, especially for great rarities and coins in higher grades, have at least doubled,” the authors state, adding “In fact, as collectors recognize the scarcity of coins in the highest states of preservation, the premium for such coins relative to lower-graded ones is escalating beyond traditional proportions. The coinage of India and the Islamic world, long dismissed by western collectors as difficult to decipher, unimportant, and lacking in value, is now the subject of intense interest, and has shown some of the most dramatic increases of all. The reader will also find a useful directory of the world’s leading gold-coin dealers and auction houses.”

The authors state, “The popularity of gold coins, however, is due to a whole host of factors. It is not an overstatement to say that the history of gold coinage parallels, and has helped define, the trajectory of civilization.” 

From the preface:

“Since the first gold coins were struck in ancient Lydia, about 700 BC, they have been the subject of collecting, hoarding, accumulating and investing. For over two and a half millennia, they, along with gold itself, have been man’s ultimate measure of economic value. For rarity, purity, lustre, resistance to the ravages of the elements and time, for unique color and for sheer beauty, they have nary a rival among the creations of either man or nature. In times of uncertainty and war, depression and panic, inflation and disaster, they have served their purpose as symbols of security when all else lay in ruin.

“This impressive metal, and the coins made from it, have never been more popular than they are today. Even more remarkable than the rise in the gold price is the dramatic and unparalleled increase in the value of numismatic gold coins. Collectors and investors now realize the relative rarity of coins compared not only to other forms of art and antiques, but also to some other numismatic categories. The ninth edition of Gold Coins of the World is arriving at just the right time to meet the needs of this ever-expanding market.”

Ottoman gold coins

The section on the coins of the Ottoman Empire, in what is now modern-day Turkey, covers approximately six pages and includes a guide to inscriptions on the coins identifying the mints, a useful tool for readers unfamiliar with the language on the coins.

The section covers the period from the Ottoman Empire’s creation at the end of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century, to the end, after its defeat in World War I by Russia, France, and Great Britain. 

The book became available at the end of January 2017. The 11¾- by 8¼-inch hard-bound book has 832 pages and a list price of $89.95 (€89). It is available from bookstores and coin dealers. It is also available as a full-color e-book or Kindle. 

To order direct from the publisher, contact Coin & Currency Institute at P.O. Box 399, Williston, VT 05495. Call the firm toll free at 800-421-1866 or email it at Sample pages are found on the book’s website

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