2018 Red Book honors David Rittenhouse, first director of the United States Mint, and 225 years of American coinage

The following is a cross-post from Mint News Blog’s sister site, Coin Update.

(Pelham, Alabama)—The classic hardcover version of the 71st-edition Guide Book of United States Coins (the hobby’s popular “Red Book”) celebrates the 225th anniversary of federal coinage in Philadelphia. On its back cover is a commemorative gold-foil portrait of David Rittenhouse, first director of the United States Mint, who was appointed by President George Washington in 1792. In addition to being the Mint’s first director, Rittenhouse was renowned as an astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, professor, public official, and crafter of scientific instruments. The first coinage under the Mint Act of 1792 consisted of half dismes (small five-cent coins made of silver), followed by copper half cents and large cents issued for circulation in 1793. Every copy of this year’s hardcover Red Book features the special portrait honoring David Rittenhouse and celebrating 225 years of U.S. Mint coinage.

Portrait of David Rittenhouse by Charles Willson Peale. (Wikimedia photo)

Throughout this year, the United States Mint is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the 1792 congressional act, which also established the first Mint facility, in Philadelphia. Its social-media pages share factoids and human-interest stories (#MintMoments). Facebook and Twitter followers can search the hashtag #USMint225. The Mint’s YouTube page (youtube.com/user/USMINT) features videos of historical footage comparing old coin-production processes to those of the modern day.

Early in 2017 the Philadelphia Mint released Lincoln cents with a P mintmark—the first time a Philadelphia mintmark has ever been used for a one-cent coin—to celebrate the mint’s 225 years. In April the Mint released its 2017 high-relief .9999 fine gold American Liberty coin, with raised edge lettering (225th ANNIVERSARY) and the dual dates 1792 and 2017. Later in the year the Mint will offer silver-medal versions of the same design in four different formats, one struck at each of three Mint facilities (Denver, San Francisco, and West Point) and two formats struck at Philadelphia.

The 71st-edition Red Book covers all of the Mint’s coins going back to 1792, including such popular issues as Indian Head cents, Wheat cents, Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Liberty Walking half dollars, Morgan silver dollars, and gold coins up to the $20 double eagle. Its coverage of modern coinage includes the newest commemorative issues, and circulating coins from Lincoln cents to America the Beautiful quarters and Native American dollars.

Other sections explore in detail colonial and early American coins and tokens; Proof and Mint sets; die varieties; Civil War tokens; private and territorial gold; Puerto Rican, Philippine, and Hawaiian coins; error coins; silver, gold, and platinum bullion; and other series in American numismatics.

The 71st-edition Red Book debuted March 30 at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. It is now available online (including from www.Whitman.com) and from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, in several formats. The commemorative hardcover version with David Rittenhouse’s portrait retails for $17.95.

A Guide Book of United States Coins, 71st edition
464 pages, full color
By R.S. Yeoman; senior editor Kenneth Bressett; research editor Q. David Bowers;
valuations editor Jeff Garrett
$15.95 spiralbound
$17.95 hardcover
$19.95 spiralbound hardcover
$29.95 Large Print Edition
$49.95 expanded Deluxe Edition (1,504 pages)

Facebook Twitter Email


  1. cagcrisp says

    I too am one that has Never missed any Offering that I wanted from the Mint.

    (I want Less than most)…

  2. You Don't Know Me says

    Wizard coin supply is selling the books at 45% discount for a few more days. I just got the Emil today. Great deal.

  3. So Krates says

    Wouldn’t it be less confusing to call this year’s Red Book the 2017 Red Book? There will be an incomplete listing of 2017 coins and ZERO coins dated 2018 listed in the 2018 Red Book. If anything it should be named the 2016 Red Book. Always wondered why Whitman advance dates it like this every year (besides trying to increase sales). Was this always the case?

    Despite the post dating, I think it’s a great resource at a good price and recommend it to newbies all the time. I get one every three years or so.

  4. Barry says

    OT[ for Queen’s Beast coins order of issues. Dates undetermined.

    Queen’s Beast Full Release Schedule
    •1st: The Lion (2016)
    •2nd: The Griffin (2017)
    •3rd: The Red Dragon of Wales (2017)
    •Future Release: The Black Bull of Clarence (20__)
    •Future Release: The Yale of Beaufort (20__)
    •Future Release: The White Lion of Mortimer (20__)
    •Future Release: The White Greyhound of Richmond (20__)
    •Future Release: The Falcon of the Plantagenet(20__)
    •Future Release: The Unicorn of Scotland (20__)
    •Future Release: The White Horse of Hanover (20__)

  5. Dustyroads says

    I expect some great looking Queen’s Beasts.

    To a comment from the last MNB post…Yes, a 5 oz. ASE would be grand, but wrap your mind around a Kilo ASE. Ya baby!!

  6. Mike the Greek says

    I adore the Queen’s Beasts! I just bought the 1oz proof of The Lion – can’t wait for proofs of the others! Only 8500 minted of the proof 1oz Lion.

  7. Goat says

    Yes, But;

    I started out on home base computer then I went to lap top. At one time tried both at same time because both were hung on the spinning wheel. We also tried at home and my wife (she’s I.T.) at work on her computer. Yes my CC info is set all that has to be entered is P.I.N. # and the o.k.. and my computer speed is the fastest in the area (no not fast dial up) .

    I don’t know how many remember the “big race” Hare and Turtle ? Something does not seem right if I “had to have” or “had to have yesterday” on a quick sell out. Paying way over spot (chasing) is a looser game and premiums keep rising slowly over spot for every new mint release. This last ASE “S” ? WT ! More will be minted but big boys have a small window to excite “collector’s” and take major advantage of them. Who’s winning, short term and long term ? My statement both will loose long term !

    In the past few years I have witness coins flipped quick for profit and the value of that coin decrease in a few short month’s after the hype . That alone is destroying collectors. Our children/grandchildren can see this happening, remember they are living this fast pace (hence new collectors), the older one’s are coasting.

  8. CDC says

    I really don’t understand this obsession with the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Mint. It’s not a typically celebrated anniversary. I don’t recall much, if anything, was done to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the UNITED STATES in 2001. It feels like a sad marketing ploy by the Mint to drum up interest in something that’s failing on other fronts. To make something out of nothing. The Red Book tie-in is clearly just a marketing gimmick, which I can understand. If you publish a book about U.S. coins, it makes sense to tie-in with the marketing plan of the supplier of said coins. Anyway, happy quasquibicentennial (?) !!

  9. Hidalgo says

    @CDC – like any business, if there is an opportunity to capitalize on any event, anniversary, etc. (traditional or non-traditional), you can be sure the US Mint will do so. Striking coins, selling medals, etc. is a fantastic way to keep coin collecting alive.

    Coin collecting now is not the same as when I was growing up. I used to search for coins in change to fill holes in my album. As you can see, times have changed.

  10. Donald says

    The Mint has based much of its commemorative coin program on the “celebration” of various anniversaries, many of which leave you bewildered because of their oddness. These anniversaries have been celebrated much more frequently (5 year increments) with the American Eagle program —no doubt a marketing ploy.

  11. Yes, But...You Can't Take It With You says

    Numismatrix: That is a cool document! And now I understand From Whence cagcrisp gets his Penchant to capitalize Random Words in the middle of Sentences. 🙂

  12. Yes, But...You Can't Take It With You says


    Thanks for the response. You shot down one of theories about why people get locked out of the crazy sales. I was thinking that perhaps some were using devices that were “smaller” than a full-size desktop, with matching full-size screen. I find that being able to quickly see everything going on and toggle back and forth between browsers helps me quite a bit. Plus, I remember someone posting that they couldn’t see the box for entering the ccv code because smaller screens shove stuff around in unpredictable way.

    I don’t disagree with what you wrote about the “race” or the decline of the hobby with younger people. Ironically, though, there is a guy in our coin club probably in his late 30’s (considered “young” now in our hobby) who gets quite excited about the limited releases and the “race”. I guess the “gambling thing” just appeals to some.

  13. Tom says

    The Mint has done an excellent job with their marketing of new ideas to create new collectors. However, their technique of selling to collectors needs to be re-visited. Just moments ago, I received an email from the Mint selling items to Congratulate others. Given their lack of sincerity on April 4th with the 2017 Congratulations Sets, I rest my case. Too many collectors wishing to buy the set were quickly shut out.

  14. Goat says

    Yes that was the good days , copper wheat pennies, it was something to have a silver 0.50 or $1.00 piece in hand when I was child and had many in the day . This country had pride in their money, now it’s just mass produced like stamps, baseball cards and we all know were that market is today. PM’s will have value (bullion market) maybe not on the collector side, that’s the only difference of the three. Although paper and cardboard might be worth something someday ? By paying $150 for a graded/OGP silver 1 oz. coin the market will have to increase greatly to break even or with the same money purchase 7 1/2 oz. (+).
    I bring up the silver 1998 s half dollar (62000 Kennedy set’s issued) at one time a Matte MS 70 would be $500 + to purchase. You can still find them they have very low mintage and the price is around $360 now. The 1997 Botanical Gardens 1997 p 0.05 piece only 25,000 minted and the only way to get the two coins was thru the mint, not change.
    All the silver found in change as a child has a much greater appreciation than most coins purchased thru the mint. Those days sadly are gone for now.
    It’s error coins in change and bullion for now.

  15. Goat says

    Yes, But;
    Sadly the “RACE” is causing a huge mark up on a short term secondary market. So huge the “people”/collectors on the other end are victims and in most cases will not ever make/increase collector value. The system is set up to help the big boys make quick/fast money and most of them are too blind to see that it destroys the market . I was brought up, you at all cost take care of the hand that feeds you. It’s called LOYALTY. I guess that’s what the mint is doing with the big boys, “loyalty to a few”.
    As it has been stated here many times from one I respect, For ones gain is ones loss. Now you through in the word HUGE and that makes it worse.

  16. Barry says

    When I had cable four TV coin shows went off the air over the last few years. The last one in January of 2016. I only now know of “The Coin Vault” and HSN’s limited airings. I don’t know if Tomaska is still on the air or not..

  17. Donald says

    In the not-too-distant past, D. Rittenhouse came back from the dead to post here on MNB. From what I recall his posts were, for the most part, a bit confrontational. Evidently, Mr. Rittenhouse, having had his say, is now resting in peace.

  18. So Krates says

    “…a bit confrontational.”

    Just a bit, 🙂 The confrontational comments were often mixed with insight and the blog has suffered from his (forced?) absence.

  19. johnaz says

    Mr.Tomaska is still on cable t.v. Now selling like the other t.v. guys Last night he had 2017-s silver eagle at 299.00 proof 70

  20. HarryB says

    I too am hoping D. Rittenhouse will drop by and provide some commentary on the current US Mint state of affairs, always entertaining!

  21. Yes, But...You Can't Take It With You says

    Add me to the list of those who appreciated posts by D. Rittenhouse. A little controversy never hurt anyone.

  22. Donald says

    The big question, as So Krates suggests is: Did D. Rittenhouse go into a self imposed moratorium from MNB or was he banned from further posting? Yes, despite the often pointed comments, he did squeeze in useful coin info and insight. And he sure was a stickler for proper spelling and grammar.

  23. Tinto says

    ” …The system is set up to help the big boys make quick/fast money and most of them are too blind to see that it destroys the market ..”

    I guess they’re only interested in short term profits … I have sold coins to dealers over the years and I get a big discounted offer for some coins that they think they cannot resell quickly .. or they don’t have it on their customer’s want list … Too bad I don’t know how to sell on eBay (bought a few times w/out problems) otherwise I might just sell what coins/bullion/currency there. And I’m too old to expend the time and energy to start learning something new like this. Maybe it’s just me, but … to each their own ..

  24. johnaz says

    Tinto, E-Bay will sell your coins for you for a fee.I had a friend sale some coins on ebay They help him.

  25. Tom says

    To prevent a system that caters to the big boys, I for one would like the Mint to take orders prior to striking coins. Let the market follow instead of being “created”.

  26. KML in KY says


    Check out Great Collections. Unlike eBay all you have to do is send then them your coins and currency and they will take pictures, list, sell and ship the coins for you.

  27. Sith says

    IMHO, So Krates, and D. Rittenhouse had some of the best “out of the box” observations about the Mint\coinage, and both were initially very combative. Both also tone down the rhetoric, after the initial onslaught. As So Krates is still posting I doubt that D. Rittenhouse has been banned. Then add that your truly has been perceived to be quite hostile to posters on more than a few occasions (my bad,) and you can see that I’m still posting here…of course to remove all doubt, all you would have to do is ask Mint News Blog.

  28. Tinto says

    @johnaz, @KML in KY

    Thanks, I’ll explore that area too then.

    Right now I’m starting to take inventory of all my coins/ currency (really a mixed bag)/bullion gonna be interesting but not under time pressure ..

  29. ndjay says

    has anyone else heard anything else about this?

    indydude says

    April 22, 2017 at 8:53 am

    At the Frederick Douglas Coin Forum this month, it was said the “S” Eagle will be in the LESPS and a product limit of 25K units.
    Look for the first silver medal from Philly in June of the UHR Gold
    Look for the 4 coin silver set in October.

  30. Coinboy says

    If the LESPS set is limited to 25k, these S proof Silver eagles will be worth a lot more money thann they currently sell for. I was thinking they were going to sell 100,000 sets.

  31. cagcrisp says

    The First round of the French presidential election sure has made an impact on stock futures And Gold.

    Maybe SOME saintly will return to the world (or maybe not).

    IF La Pen had a Stronger showing , Gold would be up more than $50 because she would be the Domino that would be the demise of the Euro…

  32. Baldwin says

    Le Pen won’t win. She gained in the voting because of the attacks, but she is too far off the regular track to win the election.

  33. Baldwin says

    I celebrate that victory… but recognize that France is and has been a far left country for years.

  34. So Krates says

    @ Baldwin – Would you consider the French policy of laicite , e.g. restricting the wearing of the hijab and burqa at school or work, to be left or right wing ?

  35. Baldwin says

    So Krates… the current leadership of France is Socialism… where in the spectrum does that fall – left or right.

  36. data dave says

    @ So Krates – Left and Right. The left depends on people following the cultural norms (which they want to define) even though they claim to support diversity. The right just like to tell people what rules to follow.

  37. Baldwin says

    So Krates… if you want to make a point on your ability to wear a burka feel free. That doesn’t change the fact that France has been mostly a liberal bastion of Europe for years. That they attempted to get Muslims to assimilate into society through a burka ban isn’t the primary issue facing France today, as much as the fact that 5 million have migrated to the country.

    Like I said, France is to far left to elect Le Pen.

  38. earthling says

    Seems to me that the fate of the World’s future depends on the actions of that overgrown Kindergarten Kid in North Korea. Is he just a puppet for some other large groups? Seems like it.

    This is our modern day Cuba. Not a good place to be.

    WW III is here. Hostility on all sides.

  39. Erik H says

    I found my first Effigy Mounds quarter today. It actually doesn’t look that bad in “quarter” size but it will go back into circulation tomorrow.

  40. Dennis Tucker says

    Howdy all. To answer So Krates’s’s question: The reason the Red Book is “post-dated” by a year is because the first edition was published in November of 1946. Rather than release the book as the “1946 edition” and have it almost immediately appear to be outdated, the good folks at Western Publishing named it the 1947 edition. From that point the book published in 1947 was the “1948 edition,” the one published in 1948 was the “1949 edition,” and so forth.

    The first edition ended up being so popular that its first print run sold out in a matter of weeks. Another 9,000 copies were printed early in 1947, and the Red Book was off and galloping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *