Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins

You’ve probably noticed over the last year that I am very partial to the books of Q. David Bowers. As a matter of fact you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about him and his incredibly vast knowledge of American coinage. If you have been to my Resources page, you’ve no doubt also noticed that he is represented very heavily across many denominations and topics. So if you haven’t figured it out yet, he’s just that good!

Rewind to a few days ago. I find myself at the local Barnes & Noble and there it is, the new Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins by, you guessed it, Q. David Bowers. Now I won’t even pretend that I have a bank account that could support my building an incredible collection of U.S. colonials. But I can enjoy the diversity and history of these coins with this book.

In true Bowers style, you not only come away with an education on the different coin series’ that drove the commerce of the infant U.S. nation, but he also differentiates between all the different die varieties of each series, citing all the classic references from the respective experts in each field. From the New England coinage¬† of 1652 through the Congress authorized coinage of the 1780’s, every series is described in detail.

As usual, simple coin descriptions aren’t enough for a Bowers reference. The economy of the time period, the processes used to strike these coins, the methods of distribution, and different ways to collect are all chapter topics. He also deals with contemporary counterfeits, the many foreign series’ that are included in the colonial section of the Red Book, and the extensive Washington portrait coinage of the 1795 to 1820’s period.

Now check out the Colonial section of my Resources page again. You’ll notice it’s pretty short. I’m not saying you can forego all the classic references for this book, but this should be the starting place for your future research. If you don’t find it here, you’ll find it in the Bibliography at the back of the book. Happy reading!

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