Mail Bag – Is There a Good Coin Grading Book?

Today’s Mail Bag question is from Carl B. and it concerns coin grading books. They write,


I wanted to ask what you think is a good coin grading book. I’ve been looking and there are a lot of them. I’m new to coin collecting and I’m looking for a book that will help me get better and grading what I have.


First Carl, thanks for your question and taking the time to send it in. It is a great question and I suspect you are not alone in the need or curiosity.

For me personally, I use two sources for grading coins. The first is an app on my iPad which I’ve highlighted here before. That is the PCGS Photograde app. The second, and the one I’ve used the longest by far is the Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins by Kenneth Bressett. Now in its 7th edition, the 384 page book covers ever coin minted from 1793 and has text descriptions of 30 levels of grades for the majority of coins. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Every standard grade is illustrated and described in detail.
  • Text descriptions of 30 levels and pinpoint grades from Poor to Mint State.
  • High-resolution photographs illustrate exactly what to look for.
  • All eleven Mint State levels are discussed in detail.

Perhaps equally as important, it is the only grading guide sponsored and endorsed by the American Numismatic Association. So yes, this is a source that professional graders use.

Offical ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins
Offical ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins

I personally can’t recommend this book highly enough for both new and seasoned collectors. It is a terrific source for improving your grading game.

There are a wide range of online retailers where you can pick up this book. Here are a few places and prices:

  • Amazon (Affiliate Link) – $19.95 (Free shipping for Prime members)
  • Wizard Coin Supply – $14.95 (Shipping starts at $9.95)
  • Whitman Publishing – $19.95 (Shipping is $5.95)
  • eBay (Affiliate Link) – $18.11 (Free Shipping)
  • Barnes and Noble – $19.95 (Shipping is $4.99)

Thanks again Carl for your question!

For those of you who have a question like Carl’s, you can do what they did. Head over to the About page here at and use the contact form to send your question to me.

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