How accurately does The Official Red Book grade coins, and their price?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
The Red Book is a very basic guide to grading, and if you want to grade properly you should should Photograde or the ANA guide to grading US coins.
Concerning pricing, almost all guide books price common coins too high and scarce or rare coins too low. It is a very common misconception of new collectors to think "if my coin is worth 50 cents, and I have 20 of them, then they are worth ten dollars". It doesn't work that way, if a coin is listed at 50 cents, you can probably buy 100 of them for ten dollars. Dealers, (who supply prices to the guides), need to make a profit off of each deal, and that percentage has to be larger for cheaper coins than for more expensive ones. Also, dealers have a vested interest in overvaluing common coins, (which they have a huge number of), and undervaluing rare coins, (which they can sell regardless of "book value" if they can buy them). I have actually had a couple of dealers who help price guide books admit this to me.
So, buy a red book for the information it contains that makes coin collecting more enjoyable, buy a grading guide to grade well, (and practice a lot), and take the prices with a grain of salt, especially at the high and low ends. Above all, enjoy collecting!
- TaipingLv 71 decade ago
The Red Book does not grade coins you do. It is a basic guide, but most use the ANA guide to grading coins. It has photo's so that you can compare a coin to them and be a little more accurate. As for prices, they are more of a guide than actually correct. Coin prices can take off or slow down at a moments notice. As I have observed over the years most prices guides are to high most of the time. The gray-sheet that dealers use, that comes out weekly is much more closer to reality. This paper is rather expensive over a period of a year, so it is mostly a dealer thing. I send away for it a few times a year, just to keep up with things or if I am going to buy or sell a rare or scarce coin. I have always found that you can wheel and deal most of the time on the more common coins, no matter if they are 100 years old or not. True rarities or scarce coins you may not be able to do it. Hope this helps. If you are really into coins subscribe to Coin World or Numismatic News they are a weekly coin paper. You can get a copy at most coin dealers to look at. They each have a price guide in them, that comes out each month. One last thing the Red Book does have an a lot of information in it and I get one each year.Source(s): 46 years a numismatist