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The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of U.S. Coins 2013 (Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins) Spiral-bound – April 3, 2012
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**Very Important** Dealers do not use the Red or Blue book they use the greysheet as a go to guide since pricing can go up or down past the published book. It does cost to buy the greysheet, but this guide give the general guideline for you to buy and sell your coins. Unless you really know what you are doing stay away from Raw ungraded coins. Their are a few third party grading services. PCGS and NGC are the big two and I prefer PCGS personally. You also have the Blue-sheet for sight unseen coins, the green sheet for currency to just name a few.
Here is an example using the 2012 guides. I will use a Morgan dollar for example. The Blue book on the 1891 Morgan dollar graded MS-63 is $90, the Red Book is $200 and Greysheet is $170 bid and $185 ask (this weeks pricing 4.8.12. What this means is in this case if you have a raw ungraded 1891 Morgan that you think is MS-63 or has been officially graded you should be able to sell the coin for $170 - $200 as well as buy it for that. The reality is if you go in with an ungraded coin you may not get more than that $90 - $100. So using the grading service is a plus but that also costs. I would get multiple opinions (professional) before submitting a raw coin you think is gradable.
The worse case is you coin if silver or gold is worth melt or what the current spot price is at any given time. Currently a Morgan dollar is worth about $30 regardless even if its been cleaned, polished, dipped it is still a ounce of silver. Last, I personally got mislead on Ebay buying Raw coins and after taking to a local dealer found they were polished, cleaned or otherwise altered to look better. Unless you really know what your doing and just speaking for me I returned the problem coins and will only buy graded coins. Even then if its does not look good then skip it is at least what I personally do.
Here is the coin dealer news letter. In addition to the grey sheet the monthly supplements are very helpful as they list other items not on the greysheet.
1. Coin prices can fluctuate far more than in years past and therefore a subscription to a monthly coin magazine or the grey sheet is an important addition for the serious collector, as well as a specific guide to coin grading. the Red book does a decent basic introduction to grading of coins, but there are better guides available. 2. The Red book is for American coins, though information on old Spanish doubloons, Continental money, etc. can be found. Don't lower your rating just because you expected something it isn't. 3. Coin prices are constantly changing. This book is a guide, not necessarily the final answer to the most current value though it is good at letting you know the general rating of a coin, and the wide variations in value based on the quality and demand of the coin. 4. As a newbie to coin collecting in my younger days, I learned more from this book than any other. I highly recommend it, especially for newer collectors, though I continue to use current editions even after 49 years. 5: coin prices listed here are generally the high end prices. Be realistic in your price negotiations. This simply provides a price guide. 6. I like most coin dealers, but you get a better price selling to an independent buyer, at least in my experience, though selling to a dealer is certainly faster and easier.
The price on the book was fair, shipping prompt and it arrived in pristine conduction. Am very happy with the transaction.