For coin collectors and enthusiasts, no matter what their area of interest, the value of a good book on numismatics cannot be overstated. A well-researched and informative guide on coins which encapsulates years and years of knowledge and experience, carefully and painstakingly acquired by the author can cost just a few dollars. Such a small investment for such a wealth of knowledge may allow the collector to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of others that would otherwise have taken hard personal experience to uncover. It is a small price to pay to ensure that your money is not wasted when it comes to investing in and collecting the actual coins themselves.
One particular source of information comes highly recommended by a Chinese enthusiast, so much so that he has even considered altruistically translating the work into Chinese for the wider benefit of the Chinese speaking modern Chinese coin collecting community. So what is this reference book? It is The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual by Scott A. Travers, originally published in 1984. Don’t let the early date of publication put you off. The book has now gone through seven editions and has been regularly revised to keep up to date with the current market.
Scott A. Travers comes from a strong numismatic background, having served as vice president of the American Numismatic Association, and clearly knows his stuff. He comes highly praised by The New York Times; has consistently made contributions to field leading numismatic publications; and has been a coin expert featured in the likes of Business Week and The Wall Street Journal.
It is a highly informative book by all accounts, useful to both the beginner and experienced collector. Amongst other nuggets of knowledge, within its pages you can learn about fakes, scams, and how to recognise and avoid them; the process of buying and selling at online auctions, along with information on the mistakes not to make; the ins and outs of the various coin grading and appraisal services available; and information on the potential for investing in precious metals and the nature of their markets.
If there is one criticism of this book, it is that many readers think it needs a good editor! While the latest revisions and editions have resulted in a fountain of knowledge at an affordable price, it seems that the added information could do with a healthy restructuring and reorganisation. Still, if you don’t have this book – which, if you’re worried about space, won’t take up more than 875 ml on your shelf – you need to be asking yourself why you haven’t bought it yet.
Paperback: 401 pages
Publisher: Random House Inc; 7th edition (15 Dec 2010)