If you buy collectable gold coins, Bill Fivaz’s Official Whitman Guidebook: United States Gold Counterfeit Detection Guide should be a vital part of your numismatic library. Bill Fivaz begins with rules of thumb and definitions to avoid buying raw counterfeit gold coins, a few of them are: weak/fatty letters, numerous depressions, tool marks and spikes, under/over weight coins. These rules can go for any coins that may be counterfeited. After giving a brief glossary of terms and abbreviations used throughout the book, Fivaz moves on to examples of counterfeit coins. Throughout the book he gives over 200 examples of commonly counterfeited coins and die markers for finding them. Although most of the coins he covers are key dates, Fivaz comments on certain dies that were used to counterfeit numerous gold coins. He covers coins from $1 coins to $20 gold coins, as well as commemoratives and territorial gold. Fivaz finishes with the tolerated weights and specifications of U.S. gold coins, as well as characteristics commonly found on genuine gold coins that can be mistaken as evidence of alterations. After reading this book, I have a much deeper appreciation for professional graders, and how they take much of the guesswork out of buying valuable coins. Overall I would give this book a perfect rating as it can give a buyer a sense of confidence in buying gold coins.
American State Quarters: The DEFINITIVE GUIDEBOOK to COLLECTING STATE QUARTERS, by David L. Ganz, is a must read for any numismatist interested in collecting State quarters casually as a circulated set or as an investment as a set registry set. A driving force in the founding of circulating commemoratives, David Ganz gives a unique view at the history, founding, and legislation of State Quarters. This part of the book is very dense, but gives a lot of interesting background as Ganz served on the CACC. David Ganz then gives an excellent five-page overview of the mintage process and a brief history of coins. He moves to the collecting and investing part of State Quarters, how grading affects the value and mint errors. The next part of the book is on the individual coins, where he spends about three pages per state discussing the state, its design, designers, design history and mintage. The second section of the quarter listings is outdated on the copy I picked up from my local library, as it was copyrighted 2008 (the second edition), but David Ganz goes through the price records, error values, and finally a very useful guide on grading one of the 50 issues. He concludes each listing with an investment potential, what grade it is considered an investment, and the potential of circulation finds. Because it is outdated, some of the price guide is dramatically off, but it can still be used as a general marker on what year's errors are especially valuable. Overall this book is a must-read on 50 State Quarters, and a 4 out of 5 star book.