What percentage of active coin collectors read hobby books....
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74 posts in this topic

...in addition to the Guide Book?

My impression is that only a small proportion actually read any of the hobby books published each year. What do others think?

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What's a hobby book ?  Examples.....?

I'll read any book that is of interest though the Red Whitman GUIDE books are very easy to read all-at-once or over time.

I read this 600-page plus book on Saint-Gaudens coins but I can't remember the title or the guy who wrote it. xD

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I get the same impression. It is much easier and cheaper to just post a question on a chat board, or do an internet search. Both have their place, but nothing can take the place of an accurately researched book.

Right now, I have 4 books sitting beside me on the couch, and two more on the nightstand, next to my bed. I guess I am "old school."

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I definitely read hobby books.  I've read the Red Whitman guide books when I worked at the brick and mortar for Lincoln Cents, Morgan Dollars, Double Eagles and your Peace Dollar book, Roger.  I don't even collect any of those coins and I enjoyed reading about them!  As for my own personal collecting pursuit, I'm looking for a book that is harder to find than the coins I'm seeking!!! I just cant find a copy of the third volume (the old third volume, not the new one on Hadrian) of the Roman Imperial Coinage to save my life!!! I also have the Aorta reference for Roman coins right on my bedside table right now.  I dig into that one frequently.

Edited by Mohawk
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If the above responses are correct, it goes a LONNNNNNNNG way toward explaining my dismay about this hobby’s trajectory. Read. Books. Dammit. Attend events. Join a club. In short, get a clue. 

Edited by VKurtB
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On 8/19/2021 at 9:26 PM, Just Bob said:

I get the same impression. It is much easier and cheaper to just post a question on a chat board, or do an internet search. Both have their place, but nothing can take the place of an accurately researched book.

Right now, I have 4 books sitting beside me on the couch, and two more on the nightstand, next to my bed. I guess I am "old school."

Then I'm old school, too, Bob.  Like I said, I want the RIC volume which has my beloved Faustina in it.  I could find a lot of the information I'd need from it online (which I currently do for lack of having the book), but I want the actual book.  

Edited by Mohawk
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On 8/19/2021 at 9:40 PM, VKurtB said:

If the above responses are correct, it goes a LONNNNNNNNG way toward explaining my dismay about this hobby’s trajectory. Read. Books. Dammit. Attend events. Join a club. In short, get a clue. 

I agree books are a valuable resource, but what's wrong about reading stuff on the internet and gathering information that way ?

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Low to very low is my assumption

Much lower outside of their areas of interest

It also partly depends upon definition of "active collector".  If it's like mine, I still say that most (over half) have very limited budgets and don't or won't spend much or any of it on anything but buying coins.

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A high percentage for those who tend to have OCD, otherwise - not many overall. Guide books are read or searched regularly by a large number of collectors. For books other than guide books, as in the five examples below, not many.

the Truth Seeker - EPN — several contributors 

from Mine to Mint - RWB

coins & collectors - D. Q. Bowers

America’s Money - America’s Story - Doty

monarchy, money and medals - Cheeks 

just to name a few and each by different authors - many more examples on hand.

the above examples are excellent - by the way. 

 

Edited by Zebo
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On 8/20/2021 at 10:24 AM, Fenntucky Mike said:

For the average collector to have any book beyond the standard reference that pertains to their collecting interest/s is rare in my experience, < 20%.

I agree. 

I also don't see why anyone thinks it should ever be any different.  Why would anyone expect more than a very low proportion to spend money for reference material that has nothing to do with their collecting?  A higher proportion will read it for free but  just because someone is an avid collector for their area of interest doesn't mean they have much if any interest in another they don't collect.

Myself, there are a few books I would like to read but have not seen it for sale.  Two examples include Bowers 1822 half eagle and another author for the Getz patterns.  I also considered buying Amato's for the 1796-1797 half dollar but did not.

Some of these books are also quite expensive.  It's either out of print or the print run wasn't sufficient for demand.  I bought one of mine (one of 500) for $65 back in 2002 and purportedly it now sells for $400.  If I did not own it now, I would consider buying it anyway but never at this price (or near it) for something I don't and never will collect.

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On 8/20/2021 at 10:32 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Would be very interesting to see how many of the Red Whitman GUIDE books they sell with each subsequent edition.

I'd like to know this data too.  It's another data point on the state of collecting.

I have never looked at any of these books.  I infer if it's your area of interest, it's quite useful.  Informs you on things like the strike characteristics, availability in different quality, major varieties and maybe the price history for each coin in the series..

If it's not your area of interest, not really.  Too much minutia.

I have a few of Bowers' books in storage I bought in the 80's.  One is for the 2C, 3CN and 3CS.  I have not read it in a long time but my recollection is that it's useful for entertainment and beginners, but not much else.  I don't recall anything in it that isn't available in Coin Facts, auction descriptions, or probably on the internet.

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On 8/20/2021 at 11:33 AM, World Colonial said:

I don't recall anything in it that isn't available in Coin Facts, auction descriptions, or probably on the internet.

Even thought its second/third hand, incomplete, out of date, false or simply a lie.....?

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On 8/20/2021 at 1:08 PM, RWB said:

Even thought its second/third hand, incomplete, out of date, false or simply a lie.....?

Yes, I am aware of it and you seem to be taking my statement out of context.  In this quote, I was specifically referring to common and widely collected US series.

What's going to be incorrect in a source like Coin Facts or an auction description for this coinage which will make any practical difference to hardly anyone who collects it?

More generally, the possibility or even likelihood that it's wrong isn't particularly relevant if it's not an area someone doesn't collect.  It doesn't mean they will want to spend even one cent for accuracy or make any effort to verify it if it has nothing to do with their collecting interest.

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On 8/19/2021 at 9:18 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

'll read any book that is of interest though the Red Whitman GUIDE books are very easy to read all-at-once or over time.

you got it those were the last i read..  the offical red book a guide of Buffalo and Jefferson Nickles.  Flying Eagle Indian head cents, Licoln cents and Mercury dimes Standing Liberty Quarters and Walking Liberty halfs!  great reads adn good informations

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As you all know, I love reading about Saints and have pretty much bought every book out there including books by Roger, Akers, and Bowers.  There's not that many more....the price and rarity of the coins relative to MSDs and other coins collected over the decades makes writing an in-depth book a challenge to make it financially worthwhile as Roger has talked about.

Bowers never did a 2nd Edition of his Double Eagle Guide book.  Akers/Ambio did a 2nd edition of his 1907-33 Gold Coins book 20 years after the first one.  But Ambio said no plans for a 3rd Edition.  

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On 8/20/2021 at 1:08 PM, RWB said:

Even thought its second/third hand, incomplete, out of date, false or simply a lie.....?

Sometimes you have to be willing to find SNIPPETS of useful information surrounded by questionable information or even wrong information.  That's one reason why I have created a PDF of past Saints auctions from the HA database alongside comments by David Akers.  I am able to read up on my favorite coins on my smartphone (or PC) in a very convenient manner.

As you know, I'd love to have the more accurate and up-to-date commentaries and data from your book on my phone/pc....but that isn't available.  And running to your book even in the home is inconvenient, let alone carrying it or taking it with me on vacations, visits, and even coin shows.  I actually am considering having someone type up certain sections for each year/mint mark in Word so I can have a PDF of the key text sections on my smartphone/PC.

Sometimes even wrong information can be overlooked or even prove useful, as with that apparently false story of the 1984 English Hoard of 1929 Saints which is still in the HA archives.

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It requires considerable pre-knownedge to identify if an excerpt is correct/accurate.

Can you photograph the pages, then convert the images to PDF, and OCR the PDF. That, I think, would be a lot faster and cheaper than typing....

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Most collectors can't be bothered to learn how to grade / authenticate / detect problems/alterations with the coins they collect. They've given that job to the TPG. Why would they bother to read up on the history of the coins? 

Besides, most coin books are awful. Them seem written for parents to buy their young budding coin collector child something to read. 

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On 8/20/2021 at 2:52 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Sometimes even wrong information can be overlooked or even prove useful, as with that apparently false story of the 1984 English Hoard of 1929 Saints which is still in the HA archives.

How relevant is this to you as a collector of Saints? 

I just read the Coin Facts entry and it estimates 943 exist, 900 as an MS-60 or better, and 45 as a MS-65 or better.  I think any collector of the series is aware the coins might be in Europe in volume and more might show up.

Let me give you an example from my primary series.  I have two references which conflict on the legitimacy of certain dates.  One book claims these are genuine and the other says not. Other books which I do not own purportedly are on both sides, at least silently..

This matters because no one wants to pay four, five or six figures for a fake coin.  Aside from the money, I would care if I  thought I had a major rarity and then found out it's a fake.  It would be a huge disappointment.

I don't really care if some anecdotal story is or isn't true, as it has no bearing on my collecting choices or experience..

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On 8/20/2021 at 3:13 PM, gmarguli said:

Most collectors can't be bothered to learn how to grade / authenticate / detect problems/alterations with the coins they collect. They've given that job to the TPG. Why would they bother to read up on the history of the coins? 

I agree with you but it should be no surprise.  Most collectors are filling holes or accumulators, not aspiring scholars or numismatists.  It's too much work.

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On 8/19/2021 at 10:28 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I agree books are a valuable resource, but what's wrong about reading stuff on the internet and gathering information that way ?

Because there is no editing function on the Internet. Too much utter garbage gets through to readers and it colors their perceptions. 

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Lately I been reading a lot articles online , I also been studying up on German states and coinage (more like history not so much of German numismatics)  . I look at coins online on a daily basic just about everyday (it’s like going to a coin show everyday right from your desk). Although I’ll admit I have been lacking on reading about numismatics lately but I know enough not to keep asking goofy questions based on YouTube video made by a some young guy that holds a coin like an amateur talking about rare double die coins that even a drunk coin collector can tell a mile away its machine doubling! 

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