Coin Magazines

Several of the leading coin magazines are reviewed here. We offer our honest opinion without playing favortism. Serious coin collectors really ought to subscribe to one or more of these publications in order to stay on top of the latest hobby developments. You'll discover additional opportunities to expand your numismatic horizons by clicking the button just to the right.

Title Content Rating Style, Presentation & Readability (SPR) Rating
Coin World 5 Star Rating Preview 5 Star Rating Preview
Numismatic News 4 Star Rating 4 Star Rating
Coins Magazine 4 Star Rating 3 Star Rating

Five-Star Rating System 5 Star Rating Preview Super, top of line, far exceeds expectations.
4 Star Rating Pretty Darn Good.
3 Star Rating Nothing extraordinary, but worth the money.
2 Star Rating Sub-par, you'll probably be disappointed.
1 Star Rating Forget it. Dismal failure.

Coin World

Title: Coin World


Bottom Line Summary

Coin World (52 Issues)
Content Rating = 5 Star Rating Preview
SPR Rating = 5 Star Rating Preview

Industry leader of numismatic periodicals. Every week Coin World brings the best news, analysis, features, and columns, all produced by some of the best talent in the business today. Once a month, subscribers receive a colorful supplemental publication listing approximate retail values of collectible coins. Classy magazine, no doubt about it. I've subscribed to Coin World for many years, and can personally vouch for its overall high quality content and presentation. If you have to choose only one coin magazine to grace your mailbox, then Coin World deserves the honor. You can subscribe to Coin World for $70/year. That comes out to only $1.35 cents per issue.

The Publisher Says This...
"The best weekly coverage of coin collecting and all things numismatic. Coin World is THE source for U.S. and international hobby news coverage, reports on new issues, trends, precious metals, prices, plus the how's and why's of collecting. Published weekly."

... but here's what we think:

Content Rating = 5 Star Rating Preview
  • In my years as a consulting coin editor to Edmunds Publications, I subscribed to quite a few coin periodicals, wanting to monitor the pulse of the coin business from a variety of sources. In 2000, Edmunds elected to focus exclusively on new and used car information, waving bye-bye to their coin publications. I, in turn, canceled all my coin magazine subscriptions, except the one I judged to be the best. It wasn't difficult to decide. My choice was Coin World.

  • There are a number of very fine numismatic periodicals available to the collector today, but in the opinion of many, Coin World is the leader of the pack. Every week, Coin World rewards readers with timely, informative features, columns, editorials, news, auction results, and analysis. At least 90 oversized pages per edition.

  • Many of the regular columnists are widely recognized as leaders in their areas of expertise. Journalists at the alphabet soup mainstream media (ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBC) ought to take lessons from Coin World field reporters on the proper methods of investigative reporting.

  • The biggest names in the coin dealer community advertise regularly. Lots of little guys, too. In short, Coin World is the place to be.

  • Once a month, subscribers receive a full color insert called CoinValues. Articles on "what's hot", insightful information on specific coin series (grading, trends, etc.), market analyses and more. The bulk of CoinValues is dedicated to retail value estimates for just about every collectible U.S. coin, in a wide range of conditions, including Proofs. Critical condition modifiers, such as R, RB, B, FSB, FBL, etc. are listed. Actual-size color photos in the value section. Many enlarged photos elsewhere. This little add-on bonus (little?.. it's over 60 pages) by itself is worth the price of a Coin World subscription.

  • As if all this isn't enough, subscribers can access Coin World trends online. The advantage of going online is that in addition to obtaining present day estimated retail values, you can view value trends over the last few years for individual coins.

  • Regular readers will strengthen their understanding of every important aspect of coin collecting, while maintaining a close watch on current hobby activity. Nowhere have I found money better spent than by purchasing a subscription to Coin World. If you have time to read only one coin publication, this is the best choice (but read the next review below, and you'll see why Numismatic News isn't very far behind).

SPR Rating = 5 Star Rating Preview
  • The producers of Coin World have devised a very good format. Page 3 summarizes for the reader the basic content of every column and article contained in the current issue. Within one or two minutes, I can prioritize everything I want to read.

  • The articles are well written, appropriate in length, and easy to read. Column width, font size, formatting all are friendly to the reader.

  • The magazine is very classy and professional. Coin dealers, writers, and hobbyists are proud to have their names associated with Coin World.

  • Every edition is stuffed with all color photographs. The quality of the color photographs is good, for being printed on regular paper stock. Coin World invested in new technology not long ago to deliver to subscribers a full color, crisp publication.

  • The CoinValues monthly bonus is a terrific publication. Some of the enlarged coin photos are quite vivid. The coin photographs in the value section are actual-size images of coins, and are okay. Just a few years ago, publishing low cost quality color photographs in a coin value trend periodical was unthinkable. Available online to subscribers.

  • Coin World is loaded with advertising, but the editors do a good job screening out obnoxious advertisers. Over the years, they have also learned how to minimize appearances by crooked operators, too.

Numismatic News

Title: Numismatic News
Delivered: Weekly

Bottom Line Summary

Numismatic News (40 Issues)
Content Rating = 4 Star Rating
SPR Rating = 4 Star Rating

Worthy periodical at bargain subscription cost. Numismatic News provides readers with the latest happenings in the coin business, including US Mint activity, auctions, coin shows, and coin clubs, plus an impressive line up of editorials, regular columnists, and feature stories. For a newsweekly, Numismatic News has lots of color images, elevating the publication's image to a much higher level than just a few short years ago.

Customers also receive information on coin value trends. Not the best range or format of coin price data we've seen, but very good overall. At only $1.41 an issue ($44.99 annually for 32 issues), Numismatic News gives its higher priced rival, Coin World, some really tough competition.

The Publisher Says This...
"The complete information source for coin collectors. Each issue includes news, event listings and feature articles pertaining to the exciting world of coin collecting. Plus, read about the people and events that influence this niche market."

... but here's what we think (note: this review was written in 2004):

Content Rating = 4 Star Rating
  • As its name suggests, Numismatic News delivers the latest numismatic news to the reader. The publication subtitle, "The Complete Information Source for Coin Collectors" is not too far off the mark. NN is a very fine weekly companion for the devout coin collector.

  • Numismatic News has been serving coin collectors since 1952. The present editorial staff brings to subscribers coin news and information worthy of this rich tradition. In a typical edition of NN, the customer can track auction results, learn of upcoming shows and sales, read about themselves in coin club activity, devour fresh US Mint statistics, enjoy great columnists, follow current events, and be entertained by feature stories, plus lots more.

  • Numismatic News provides a lively platform for readers to sound off. The back-and-forth verbal sparring between opinionated individuals is probably one the publication's most popular section, based on the number of pages devoted to subscriber feedback.

  • Alan Herbert's "Coin Clinic" column by itself is worth the subscription price. Herbert receives fascinating questions from the public, and provides full and authoritative answers. His ability to locate answers to tough questions is astounding.

  • David Ganz writes a column called "Under the Glass", where he unabashedly analyzes coins as investment vehicles. Since the great coin market collapse of the early 1990s, most numismatic journalists have been shy to place the word "coin" in the same sentence as "investment". Not Ganz. He continues on, and at times has stirred up controversy with his comments.

  • Numismatic News is populated by thought-provoking editorials and excellent feature articles. For instance, the August 17, 2004 issue brought us "We collectors mystify the psychologists", "Take time to enjoy today's winds of change", and "Spice up your collection with error coins".

  • Numismatic News has a much larger classified ad section than its chief competitor, Coin World. This is probably explained by the fact that all paid subscribers to Numismatic News are allowed to place free classified ads (with a few reasonable restrictions).

SPR Rating = 4 Star Rating
  • For years, I subscribed to a multitude of coin periodicals, including Numismatic News. In the year 2000, I decided to cut back on my subscriptions, dropping Numismatic News in the process (Coin World was the only periodical I kept). Picking up a copy today, I have to acknowledge several great improvements in the appearance of Numismatic News, since I last browsed through the newsweekly. For one thing, they've capitalized on newer technologies to deliver more vivid color to their pages. Page 1 is printed on bright white paper stock, bringing to life sharp color images.

  • The articles are well written, appropriate in length, and easy to read. Column width, font size, formatting all are friendly to the reader. Oddly, Numismatic News utilizes the same font and font size as Coin World. Makes you wonder if someone has done a study to indicate this particular font is the best for numismatic periodicals.

  • The Table of Contents is really sorry. Brutal, but sadly true. The TOC (or as NN calls it, the Index), is a smallish little blurb buried on page 3 or 4, measuring less than three column inches. Worse yet, only the standard sections make it onto the Index list. You literally have to turn every page in the magazine to find the special, feature articles. Perhaps the strategy of the editors is to encourage readers to see all pages, but for busy people like me, I strongly prefer an informative TOC up front, to help me quickly prioritize my reading material.

  • About 70% of Numismatic News is filled with advertisements (that's pretty much the norm, however). Quite a few of the ads are sharp, full color marvels, and for long-time collectors like me, are a joy to behold (ahh... if only I had a 100 grand to spare...). The NN editors know how to weed out the rotten apples (at least those companies purchasing display ads), so readers can buy in confidence. If a seller engages in questionable practices, I believe the NN folks will exert every influence they can to rectify the situation. You don't stay in business for over 50 years by treating your customers shabbily.

Coins Magazine

Title: Coins Magazine


Bottom Line Summary

Coins (12 Issues)
Content Rating = 4 Star Rating
SPR Rating = 3 Star Rating

Slower paced monthly publication, appealing to both casual collectors or avid numismatists who simply can't obtain enough good quality reading material. The editors of Coins Magazine aim to and teach and entertain, rather than report the "latest and the greatest".

The regular contributors to Coins Magazine are some of the most experienced in the hobby today, as evidenced by the high quality articles they produce. This magazine is not a useful publication for monitoring the heartbeat of the coin business, but as tool for steadily building a foundation of numismatic knowledge, it rates right up there with the best. Available at a cost of about $30 a year (only $2.50 an issue). Yes, its a decent buy, but be sure not to expect "hot off the press" news bulletins.

The Publisher Says This...
"Features US coins accompanied by full-color photographs, collector columns, US world coin hobby news, US coin price guide covering most popular US coins. Hobby guide for novice or casual advanced collectors."

... but here's what we think (Note: review written in 2004):

Content Rating = 4 Star Rating
  • Coins Magazine is produced by Krause Publications, one of the most reputable publishers in the collector genre doing business in the United States today. They also own Numismatic News and Coin Prices. I'm reasonably certain Krause started out as strictly a numismatic publisher, but in recent years, they've gotten involved in antiques, comic books, old cars, and lots more.

  • Perhaps 20 years ago, I subscribed to Coins Magazine. At least 3 or 4 of the writers employed by Krause then are still at it today. These guys are very experienced and know their stuff. For example, columnist Alan Herbert fields tough coin-related questions from the public. I don't know how he does it, but he can find the answer to just about anything. He is absolutely brilliant.

  • Since this magazine comes out but once a month, don't expect to get hot news bulletins. Accordingly, Coins Magazine doesn't delve into news items (e.g. Mint announcements, auction results, etc.). Its primary purpose it to educate collectors through a fine array of columns and features.

  • To give you an idea of Coins Magazine content, a recent issue (September 2004) contains columns called "Basics and Beyond", "Coin Clinic", "Coin Tales", "Budget Buyer", "Numismatic Mysteries", plus more. Featured articles include, but not limited to, "The nation's first nickel", "10 great nickels", and "Depicting Liberty". This particular issue was billed as a "Nickel Bonanza".

  • "Coin Value Guide" makes a regular appearance in Coins Magazine. Edited by numismatic veteran Joel Edler, "Coin Value Guide" lists average retail prices for the most frequently traded U.S. coins. The guide does have some limitations, however. For instance, you won't find early American coins, or uncirculated grades other than MS-60 and MS-65. The trends you see are several months old, too. Don't subscribe to Coins Magazine if your sole objective is to follow current value trends.

  • In my opinion, Coins Magazine is best suited to two types of numismatists: 1) Insatiable collectors who devour any quality reading material they can get their hands on, and 2) individuals who take a more casual approach to coin collecting, content with slowly building their knowledge base, and less concerned with keeping up with all the latest news. Coin enthusiasts desiring to stay atop all the twists, turns, and trends in the world of coins should not rely on Coins Magazine to fulfill this mission.

SPR Rating = 3 Star Rating
  • Overall, this is a respectable looking magazine. Coins Magazine has been around for more than a half century. During this time, publisher Krause has certainly figured out a few aspects of marketing a nice product.

  • Only about a quarter of the pages are glossy coated. This is a bit disappointing for a monthly issue. High quality color images abound on those pages. The remainder is regular paper stock, and all photos are black and white. Big difference in quality, rating from only so-so to okay.

  • The Table of Contents is good. The feature articles are effectively summarized in one line. Readers will be chomping at the bit to get started.

  • The advertisements are tasteful and welcome. The vast majority of coins target smaller budget collectors. This fact, perhaps more than anything, reveals the audience for whom Coins Magazine is intended.

  • The articles are clearly written and flow well. The information is straightforward, sufficient in detail, and of appropriate length.

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