US Coins

Whitman releases new edition of book by Bressett

A new edition of “The Whitman Guide to Coin Collecting” by Kenneth E. Bressett, first published in 1999, was released on July 4.

Original images courtesy of Whitman Publishing.

A new edition of The Whitman Guide to Coin Collecting by Kenneth E. Bressett, first published in 1999, was released on the nation’s birthday, July 4.

“Coin collectors have long been fascinated by the great rarities of the numismatic world,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “Even if we can’t afford them, we love to learn about them, to look at them, to marvel over their fantastic stories. We’re inspired (often amazed, and sometimes shocked) by the adventures of the ‘super-collectors’ like King Farouk of Egypt, a decadent monarch who drained his treasury to indulge his pastimes ... the fabulously wealthy Colonel E.H.R. Green, who could afford any coin he wanted and once owned all five 1913 Liberty Head nickels ... and Louis Eliasberg, the only collector ever to acquire one of every federally issued United States coin.”

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Tucker adds, “Of course, we know that we’ll never be an Egyptian king, and few of us will ever attain the wealth of” collectors like Green and King Farouk, though “we can aspire to maybe, just maybe, be a John Jay Pittman — an ‘ordinary working man,’ happily married for 60 years, a chemical engineer for Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York, who had to collect coins on a regular budget. When Pittman’s collection was auctioned in the late 1990s, it went for more than $30 million.”

Tucker said, “Here at Whitman Publishing headquarters we know thousands of hobbyists who got started collecting coins from their pocket change,” adding, “This simple style of collecting common-date coins at face value is the foundation for much of today’s hobby. Numismatics is no longer an elite ‘gentlemen’s club’ reserved for the wealthy. Now it is a popular pastime, fueled by the quarters found in our pocket change, pursued by countless schoolchildren, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, computer techs, mechanics, farmers, college students, and other ‘ordinary’ Americans.”

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The new edition of Bressett’s book is intended to guide new collectors in their entry to the hobby. Bressett is the longtime editor of Whitman’s A Guide Book of United States Coins, familiarly known as the “Red Book,” having been named to the position in 1974.

The Whitman Guide to Coin Collecting, first published in 1999, is one of Ken Bressett’s many contributions to the hobby,” Tucker writes. “The book’s goal: to provide a much-needed gateway to numismatics, offering in a single volume everything new collectors need to get their feet on the ground.”

The book has been updated and revised several times, including in a new edition in 2003. The new and expanded edition “has been updated with new information and guidance for today’s hobbyists, and upgraded to full color, with even more illustrations,” according to Tucker. “Its readers will enjoy a one-on-one appointment with Ken Bressett, who opens the vault doors to his immense storehouse of practical, hands-on knowledge. It’s the perfect welcome to the world of coin collecting.”

Whitman Publishing can be reached here

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