What is the Difference Between the Blue Book and the Red Book of Coins?

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

The first thing you need to know about the Blue Book and the Red Book of Coins is that they are guides.

Both books contain helpful information for collectors but are geared towards different types of collectors.

Those who want to learn about coin collecting for fun versus those who want to invest in rare coins as an investment vehicle.

The Official Blue Book Handbook of United States Coins


The Blue Book, also referred to as the Handbook of United States Coins, is the forerunner of the Red Book of Coins.

The Blue Handbook was printed in 1942, two years before printing the more well-known Red Book. The Blue Book is a comprehensive guide that provides valuable insights on coin grading and tips on initiating your coin collection.

In addition, it has pricing, rarity, tokens, and various types of dies, including private and territorial gold, proof sets, and more.

The Handbook of United States Coins is a guide that helps us collectors and sellers make purchasing decisions.

According to my understanding, the Blue Book displays lesser coin values than the Red Book of Coins.

Well, the thing is, the Blue Handbook and the Red Guide Book differ in how they calculate prices. Also, the Red Guide Book has more historical information than the Blue Handbook.

This book includes a section on grading coins, which can assist you in determining the quality of your coin.

It also provides information on counterfeits and other scams related to coin collecting.

A Guide Book of US Coins (Red Book)


You may refer to “The Official Red Book,” or “A Guide Book of United States Coins,” as an iconic book for coin collectors.

We all know that every collector owns them, and serious collectors have them. Since 1946, the Red Book has sold over 24 million copies.

We have new editions available every year with updated information and prices.

I want to emphasize that the book doesn’t only give you information about the currently circulating coins.

And let me tell you. It also covers topics such as tokens, error coins, mint and proof sets, Confederate tokens, Civil War coins, gold, bullion, US Mint medals, and much more.

I can guarantee you that this book gives you all the details you need to know about mintage numbers, approximate value, mint location, historical information, grading, and tips on detecting counterfeits.

The Red Book is the most popular reference book among coin collectors in the United States. According to the Red Book, coins are valued based on their condition, rarity, and demand.

What is the Difference Between the Blue Book and the Red Book of Coins?


So, the thing is that the Red Book and Blue Book of coins differ in their approach.

The Blue Book provides price values for coins, whereas the Red Book goes beyond that and provides both value and rarity.

I can tell you that the Red Book has all the details about non-gold coins minted in America from 1793 to 1964.

Additionally, it encompasses details regarding certain foreign matters that were utilized in America during this particular era.

So, the Blue Book of Coins is more about wholesale prices when selling coins in bulk to a dealer, while the Red Book of Coins is more about retail coin prices.

So essentially, folks, the Blue Book of Coins serves as a reference for pricing when selling coins in bulk, while the Red Book of Coins is a guide that provides information on the value of a coin in the market.

Before you go…

I hope this article helped you answer your questions about the difference between The Blue Book and the Red Book of Coins. If you’re interested in collecting coins and want to know more about them, the Red Book is your best option. It has information about coins from every era that can help you decide what to buy or sell. The Blue Book Handbook is also handy because it contains prices for every coin and helps collectors determine how much their collection is worth!

Check out my next article: “My Honest Review of Littleton Coin Collecting Books.”

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