|Author||Richard (R. S.) Yeoman|
|Genre||Antiques & Collectibles|
|Publisher||Whitman's Publishing LLC|
Editor R. S. Yeoman was the editor until he retired in 1970. In 1971 his assistant, Kenneth Bressett, took over as the editor of the Blue Book and Red Book until he retired in 2017. Q. David Bowers is the research editor.
The book is the longest running coin price guide. The first edition, dated 1947, went on sale November 1946. After the first three editions (dated 1947, 1948, 1949), the Guide Book was not published in 1949; annual publication resumed in 1950 with the 4th edition (dated 1951–1952) and has continued to this day. The book's all-time peak print run for a single year was 1.2 million copies in 1965. The 70th edition, cover-dated 2017, was published in 2016.
The Red Book lists the retail value of all United States coins from Colonial and pre-federal State Issues to all circulating issues, as well as commemorative and modern-day bullion coins, as well as other significant U.S. patterns, private and territorial gold, Hard-times tokens, Confederate issues, Hawaiian tokens and coins, Philippine issues and Alaskan tokens. It also shows Issue Prices and Current Values of mint sets and proof sets. The values are divided by main coin grades.
The Guide Book got its Red Book nickname due to the book's solid red cover.
In addition to the traditional hardcover edition, new formats have been added through the years:
Early editions of the Red Book are collectible. The first edition has commanded $1,500 or more on the open market. The Red Book has its own Red Book – A Guide Book Of The Official Red Book Of United States Coins by Frank J. Colletti published 2009 by Whitman Publishing (ISBN 978-0-7948-2580-5).
A facsimile of the 1947 edition was published in 2006, on the 60th anniversary of the publication of the first edition. Dubbed the "1947 Tribute Edition" (ISBN 0-7948-2230-4), it differs from the original by having a dust jacket (the first Red Book ever to have one) and an additional 32-page color section, comparing the coin collecting hobby in 1946 and 2006. Except for the dust jacket and color section, it was an exact replica of the first printing (with the phrase "scarcity of this date" on page 135).