US Coins

Upcoming book charts life of Richard Yeo

Numismatic author Kenneth E. Bressett is pictured with a plaque depicting Red Book writer R.S. Yeoman. The story of “A Guide Book of United States Coins” and its founding author R.S.Yeoman is recounted by Bressett in a book to be released this summer.

Images courtesy of Whitman Publishing LLC.

Pre-orders are being accepted by Whitman Publishing LLC for renowned numismatist Kenneth E. Bressett’s upcoming reference A Penny Saved: R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book.

The 352-page, 8.5-inch by 11-inch, hardcover tome in full color will retail for $39.95 and is to debut sometime this summer. The book is available for pre-order at and online bookstores.

The “Red Book” is the popular moniker for A Guide Book of United States Coins penned by numismatist Richard Yeo under the pen name R.S. Yeoman. The moniker derives from the book’s red cover.

Popular nonfiction

A Guide Book of United States Coins is recorded as one of the most popular nonfiction titles in American publishing, with more than 25 million copies reported sold since the first edition debuted.

The Red Book is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021.

Bressett was with Yeoman for the inaugural edition and today serves as editor emeritus after decades in the editor’s chair.

In A Penny Saved, Bressett chronicles the evolution of the Red Book and Yeoman’s impact on numismatic collecting with coin boards, folders, and new books in the 1930s and 1940s.

According to Whitman Publishing, Bressett’s upcoming book “reflects Yeoman’s story of his first coin board, which he created in 1916 with a jackknife and a piece of cardboard to save an 1894 Indian Head cent he had earned on his newspaper route for the Evening Wisconsin. Twenty years later, during the Great Depression, Yeoman would help launch numismatics into a national craze by marketing and selling cardboard holders for sets of coins collected from pocket change.

Bressett’s text in the book relates the history of publishing giant Western Printing & Lithographing Company in Racine, Wisconsin, and follows the development of its offshoot, Whitman Publishing, from 1916 to the present day.

Whitman Publishing today is headquartered in Florence, Alabama.

Revolutionized collecting

“The Red Book revolutionized coin collecting by presenting, for the first time, an impartial, professional catalog of average prices dealers were charging for every U.S. coin,” according to Whitman Publishing. “It made the hobby accessible to people of all ages, interests, and budgets.”

Bressett introduces in his new book never-before-released documents from the Whitman Publishing archives, and shares a treasure trove of family photos, corporate memorabilia, and personal recollections about the Red Book and the coin dealers, collectors, researchers, and others who have made it so remarkable.

Copies of early and special, limited production editions of the Red Book continue to grab strong prices on the secondary market from bibliophiles, Whitman notes. A first printing copy of the 1947 first edition of the Red Book realized $1,020 in a Nov. 10, 2018, sale by Heritage Auctions. Other special editions include volumes released at major coin conventions as dinner favors, and various other versions.

Contact Whitman Publishing online at

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