The Gold Book

Paperback Edition

ISBN 0-9630498-4-4

128 pages, Photos

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Table of Contents


Great Britian
Isle of Man
Republic of South Africa
United States of America

Credit Suisse
Johnson Matthey

Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
Appendix IV
Appendix V
Appendix VI


Book Reviews

This detailed, illustrated guide to gold coins and bars serves those interested in these objects for their trading rather than their numismatic value. It provides a range of information for more than 80 gold coins issued by 20 countries and approximately 20 bullion bars. A brief introduction gives some useful background information about buying and selling such items and discusses other factors that may influence their value. The main section of the book is a country-by-country listing that illustrates and describes each of the coins. This is followed by a short list of bars arranged by commercial firm of issuance. A series of six appendixes provides additional listings by characteristics that are of particular interest to traders, such as diameter, thickness, gold content, purity, total weight, and fineness. A short glossary, a list of weights and measures, gold prices from 1972 to 1991, conversion tables, a bibliography, and an index round the book out. Almost all the information of interest on these (and many more) gold coins can be found in the wide assortment of standard coin books that appears in most library collections.

-Norman D. Stevens, American Reference Books Annual in 1993

Margaret Olsen, ASA, is an Accredited Senior Appraiser of Numismatics, and with her colleague, Alison Matthews, has been in the numismatics field for much longer than the seven years of my acquaintance with them. As with most of my favorite specialists, I have always wished for a way to take them along on every appraisal so that I would have their in-depth expertise at hand. At last, Ms Olsen and Ms Matthews have come up with a pocket sized guide to help answer the generalists big question; Does what I have in front of me require a specialist? The Gold Book truly fits the bill. Subtitled, "A guide to Commonly Traded Gold Bullion Coins and Bars". The Gold Book catalogues more than 100 of the popular issues of government and private mints and refineries, organized by country of origin. The user can easily separate coins and medals that might require a numismatic specialist from those that can be valued with a quick trip through the business pages of any major newspaper. The book is well illustrated and organized for the novice, with many of the photographs printed in actual size. The descriptive information clearly gives the information found on the reverse and obverse sides of the subjects. Also included in The Gold Book are the technical specifications such as weight, purity, content, all dimensions, designer and mintage period. The six appendices provide the information in formats of weight, content, purity, diameter, country and fineness, should the user need to rank their subjects to meet specific client criteria. At the back of the book are a seven page glossary, weights and measures tables, and a survey of high and low gold prices from 1972 through the end of 1991. My favorite appendix is the conversion chart for computing various Avoirdupois weights to Troy weight, and vice versa. For those of us who are well distanced by time from their last math course, this saves a lot of aggravation and potential embarrassment. Olsen and Matthews intended this book for use by anyone with a need to determine the identity and value of gold bullion and coins, and have succeeded. At the published price of $19.95, the generalist appraiser can have the first step in identification of numismatic material. As with most specialty materials, this information won't make you an expert overnight, but it can certainly help warn you when its time to call one in. With all of the possibilities for encountering numismatic materials in estate and insurance appraisals, The Gold Book is a must for every appraiser's tool kit.

- Terry R. King, ASA. Senior Appraiser, Connoisseur Appraisers, Denver, CO.

The Gold Book, a catalog of gold bullion coins and bars written by M.A. Olsen and Alison Matthews, is now available from Westminster Publishing in Westminster Colo.The 128-page soft-cover book is formatted in 5.5-by-855-inch size with more than 230 black-and-white photographs. It lists both legal tender and non-legal tender coins of 21 countries which are mostly also traded for bullion value. The book lists bullion bars and "rounds" of three private precious metal trading firms. Information includes the precious metal content, diameter, dates of mintage, purity and fineness, Mint, designer and legal tender status. There is no designation of any are dates in the various series. There are appendixes listing coins by country, diameter, gold content, purity and by weight. There is a glossary of terms a chart of weights, chart of gold prices per year, conversion table and measures pertaining to gold.

- May 11, 1992 edition of Coin World

The Authors

Margaret Olsen

Margaret Olsen's interest in coins and precious metals stems from her childhood. For over 30 years, as president of Westminster Coin & Jewelry, Ltd., in Westminster, Colorado, she has made them her profession.

Her enthusiasm for precious metals has led her to become a nationally recognized expert in the field. She is one of eight people in the country to qualify for senior status in numismatics in the American Society of Appraisers, where she is a senior accredited member and past president of the Denver chapter. She also is a member of numerous numismatic associations, including the American Numismatic Association. She is a sought-after speaker and spoke at the American Numismatic Association conference in New York in July 1997.

Olsen is co-author of "The Gold Book: A guide to Commonly Traded Gold Bullion Coins and Bars," and "The Platinum & Palladium Buyer's Guide." She served on the board of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, has received the approval of The Lloyds of London, is listed in Who's Who, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who of the West and the World's Who's Who of Women.

Alison Matthews

Alison Matthews, co-author of "The Gold Book: A guide to Commonly Traded Gold Bullion Coins and Bars," and "The Platinum & Palladium Buyer's Guide," describes herself as a generalist. President of Westminster Publishing since 1992, she worked in the printing industry for 13 years before opening the publishing company.

Among the press's publications are "The Gold Book: A guide to Commonly Traded Gold Bullion Coins and Bars," and "The Platinum & Palladium Buyer's Guide," and the audio tape "A Chequered Life."

Matthews is a graduate of McGill University, Montreal, where she majored in liberal arts and anthropology. She also holds a degree in accounting. She was a founding member and a member of the board of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

Sample Page

Below is an actual scan of a page from this book.  The image is reduced in size from its original printed size of 5.5" x 8.5"".