Most helpful positive review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Definitely buy this if you collect nickels!
on March 13, 2008
It was a splendid idea for Whitman to combine Jefferson and Buffalo Nickels into one guide as it is a logical progression from one series to the next (usually in reverse order). The beauty of this book is that it is that it breaks down each year in the series with a the kind of data that one really cares about; strike quality in the case of Buffaloes; Step data for Jeffersons; major die varieties in both series. This book is small enough and helpful enough so that one would not feel self-conscious taking it with him to a coin show for helpful consultation. I am less familiar with Buffs than I am with Jeffs so I'll confine my criticism to the Jefferson discussion and that is with the frequency data of 5 and 6 Full Step coins. I find this data to be far too generous for the following reasons: 1) The number is a hypothetical count on freshly minted coins and the reality is that most of the coins in the issue will not have countable full step cartridges due to wear; 2) Authors do not take into account hits which render the step count meaningless. In other words, in the real world one is simply not going to find full step coins, free of hits and bridges at the rate the editors claim. It is helpful, though, that the editors of this guide quote heavily from Nagengast which until now has done the most exhaustive published study of Jeffersons. I feel confident relying on the Whitman guide knowing that the editors of it studied Nagengast. As to the values charts that accompany each coin, these are definitely helpful if not dispositive but should be used in the context of the coin market at time of publication. Price swings are dramatic depending upon whether the coin market is doing well or poorly. All in all, this is a top notch guide and actually the best one on nickels I've encountered precisely because of its compact size, good coverage, dual coverage. There are better Buffalo books out there, Lange's third edition comes to mind, but for the money this is definitely top of the food chain.