Kenneth Bressett

Kenneth Bressett
Born (1928-10-05) October 5, 1928 (age 93)
Nationality American
Occupation Numismatist, author
Years active 1956-present

Kenneth Edward Bressett (born October 5, 1928 in Keene, New Hampshire)[1] is an American numismatist. He has actively promoted the study and hobby of numismatics for over 50 years. His published works on the subject cover a wide range of topics and extend from short articles to standard reference books on such diverse areas as ancient coins, paper money, British coins and United States coins.


Throughout his career he has worked as an author, editor and publisher of books and products for coin collectors. He has also taught the subject to hundreds of students through courses at Colorado College and other places. From 1983 to 1988 he served as Director of Coin Authentication and Educational Programs for the American Numismatic Association. Subsequently he served on the ANA Board of Governors, later as Vice President and then as President from 1993 to 1995.[2]

Bressett was appointed to the United States Assay Commission in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, and in 1996 was made a member of the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee.[3]

Bressett first became interested in coins in 1937[4] when his neighbor gave him a coin each from China and Belgium. He began collecting coins in earnest while he was a clerk in a grocery store in 1943 and through high school. Bressett attended Dresser Business School in 1947[5] and later studied graphic arts at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the American Numismatic Association in 1947 and attended their convention in Boston the following year. From 1949 until 1959 Bressett worked as a printer and compositor for Sentinel Publishing Company.[6]

Bressett began free-lance editorial work on Red Book in 1956. He went to work for Richard S. Yeoman at Whitman Publishing in Racine in 1959.[7] He wrote several books while at the publishing house and in 1962 became the editor of the Whitman Red Book and Blue Book.[8] From 1964 to 1968 Bressett was the Editor and Publisher of the Whitman Numismatic Journal.[9] In 1971, following Yeoman’s retirement, he became editor of the Red Book.

He has received numerous awards in recognition of his service and dedication to numismatics, including election to the National Numismatic Hall of Fame, The American Numismatic Association Medal of Merit, and the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award (jointly awarded to both him and his wife Bert).[10]

Bressett coined the term "double die" to refer to the 1955 doubled die cent.[11]

Bressett worked as a consultant for the F. Newell Childs collection that later sold at auction for over $8 million.[12] In 1966, he was appointed to the U.S. Assay Commission by President Lyndon B. Johnson.[13] He taught at the ANA Summer Seminar in 1975. In 1980, Bressett left Whitman to work for A. M. Kagin in Des Moines, Iowa. From 1982 to 1988 he worked at ANA as Director of ANACS. In 1986, he dove with Mel Fisher in Florida for treasure of the sunken Nuestra Señora de Atocha.[14]

Bressett was on the Board of Governors from 1989 to 1994 and served as President from 1995 to 1997.[15] In 1996, he was inducted to the ANA Hall of Fame.[16] For the next few years, he promoted the Peace 2000 project around the world. He served on the CCCAC commission from 1996 to 2003 and promoted the 50 State Quarters program.[17]

Bressett retired from full-time editing in 2018 and is now listed as “editor emeritus”.[18] In 2021, he released A Penny Saved: R.S. Yeoman and His Remarkable Red Book, an in-depth look at the history behind A Guide Book of United States Coins.[19] That same year, he was named one of the "Top 10" in Coin World's "Celebrating 60: The Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020".[20]

Books written or edited

  • Money of the Bible
  • Let's Collect Coins
  • Basics of Coin Grading for U.S. Coin
  • Buying and Selling United States Coins
  • United States Coin Price Trends
  • Collectible American Coins
  • Collecting U.S. Coins
  • The Fantastic 1804 Dollar
  • A Guide Book of English Coins
  • Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins
  • A Guide Book of United States Coins
  • The Handbook of United States Coins
  • Guide Book of United States Currency
  • Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins

Personal life

In 1950 he married Bert Britton. They had three children, Philip (1951), Richard (1954), Mary (1955) before her death in 2012.[21]


  1. ^ "Kenneth Edward Bressett". EPNNES & Washington University in St. Louis. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Kenneth Edward Bressett-Biography". Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  3. ^ "Bressett, Kenneth". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  4. ^ Roach, Steve. "Editor's Q&A: Ken Bressett has done it all in the world of numismatics". Coin World. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "Kenneth Edward Bressett". NNP at Washington University in St. Louis. Washington University. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Kenneth Edward Bressett Biography". Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Garrett, Jeff. "Ten Questions for Numismatic Legend, Ken Bressett". Coin Week. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Kenneth Bressett named first Editor Emeritus of the Red Book". Coin Update. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  9. ^ "Bressett, Kenneth". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  10. ^ "NGC Licenses Official Red Book Logo for Labels; Ken Bressett to Autograph". Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Bowers, Q. David. "Bowers on collecting: Blame it on Hurricane Diane!". Coin Update. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  12. ^ Stack’s Bowers. "Classic US Coins – The Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue 1804 Dollar". CoinWeek, LLC. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  13. ^ "NGC Licenses Official Red Book Logo for Labels; Ken Bressett to Autograph". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  14. ^ Roach, Steve. "Editor's Q&A: Ken Bressett has done it all in the world of numismatics". Amos Media Company. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "ANA PRESIDENTS 1891 TO THE PRESENT". American Numismatic Association. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  16. ^ "Numismatic Hall of Fame Past Inductees". American Numismatic Association. American Numismatic Association. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  17. ^ "2001 Annual Report" (PDF). United States Mint. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "Jeff Garrett Pays Tribute to Kenneth Bressett "Red Book" Editor Emeritus". Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  19. ^ Tucker, Dennis. "Celebrating R.S. Yeoman and his remarkable Red Book". Whitman Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  20. ^ Coin World: Celebrating 60-The Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020. Amos Media (Coin World). 2021. p. 77.
  21. ^ "Bertha Bressett Obituary". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved August 26, 2018.


  • The Guide Book on the Official Red Book of US Coins, by Frank J. Colletti, 2009, Whitman Publishing.
  • The Guide Book of United States Coins, 2011, Whitman Publishing and Ken Bressett as provided.
  • The Handbook of United States Coins.

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