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Coin Book Review: The Expert's Guide to Collecting and Investing in Rare Coins by Q David Bowers

Mar 28, 2008
The Expert's Guide to Collecting and Investing in Rare Coins is an enormous book. It contains over 600 pages full of information on coin collecting. The title is somewhat deceiving though in my opinion. I would not call it an investment book at all but rather a complete overview of almost any type of numismatic material made in the United States.

The book certainly does cover investing in rare coins as an investment. The book contains a whopping 34 chapters and the first 15 are devoted to investing or determining the value of rare coins. Within those chapters, there are discussions regarding the common basics of coin investing such as quality/grading, rarity, and demand. As with any commodity or collectible, if there is no demand there is no price appreciation. The best example of that is the 1909 S VDB Lincoln Cent. There are more of these coins available than many other rare coins from 20 to 30 years prior but the 1909 S VDB commands a much higher price because of the shear number of people who want that coin.

The next several chapters (chapters 16 through 30) are devoted to each different collectible type. For example there is a chapter on copper coins, a chapter on nickels, a chapter on silver coins, and a chapter on gold coins and so on. These chapters provide a very brief overview of each coin type. If you want to more detail of let's say the Buffalo Nickel, then you would want to spend the money on a book specific about Buffalo Nickels and fortunately, there are a few on the market. The same holds true for many other series such as Lincoln Cents, Shield Nickels, Mercury Dimes, and so on.

There are also chapters devoted to lesser known collectables. There is a chapter on proof coins, a chapter on colonial coins, a chapter on pattern coins, a chapter on commemoratives, a chapter on tokens, and more. Each of these chapters gives an overview of each particular item. There is even a chapter devoted to collecting Confederate paper money.

While these chapters are quite diverse, they offer a wealth of information that many collectors may not know. It is written in a manner that is very easy to follow and enjoyable to read.

Chapter 31 is devoted to developing your own personal numismatic library. If you are a series collector, it is not unheard of to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on numismatic material. The old adage of buy the book first is true.

Chapter 32 delves into the world of coin cleaning and protecting your coins. Of course the best advice when it comes to cleaning coins is DO NOT DO IT. With that notion, the book discussed the various ways coins are cleaned. It also provides an overview of how to store and protect your coins.

I personally did not get this book for the advice on investing in rare coins, rather because I am more of a collector than an investor. Certainly we all want our collections to grow in value, but I read this book just because of the shear volume of general numismatic material. It is chocked full of information that for the beginning collector is priceless. It could certainly guide a beginning collector down the path of determining what he/she might have in interesting in collecting to become a true collector rather than a hoarder.

I highly recommend this book
About the Author
Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has Coin stuff Reviews. For Coin Book Reviews go here. Visit his websites for a history of US coins.
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