Born in Keene, New Hampshire. Attended Dresser Business College 1947 to 1948. Married Bertha Britton October 7, 1950. In 1993 she received the ANA Medal of Merit. They have two sons and a daughter. He was on staff of Sentinal Printing & Publishing Co. 1949 to 1959.
In the 1950's Bressett approached Richard Yeoman and pointed out several errors in the "Red Book." Yeoman was impressed enough to hire Bressett as a freelance assistant editor in 1957.
Since 1959 Bressett has been employed in numismatics. Following is a summary of names, locations, dates and activities:
Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, 1959 to 1980. Editor of Whitman Numismatic Journal 1964 to 1968, editor of A Guide Book of United States Coins, the "Red Book," and Handbook of United States Coins, the "Blue Book."
Kagin's Numismatic Investment Corp, Des Moines, Iowa 1981 to 1982, vice president and numismatic consultant.
American Numismatic Association, Colorado Springs, Colorado 1982-1988. He was director of the ANA certification service 1982-84 and director of education for the ANA 1985-88.
Premier Coin Investments, Apple Valley, Minnesota, 1989-1990, vice president and director of numismatic services.
Self employed, Colorado Springs, Colorado, after 1990, consultant and numismatic writer.
As a writer he has contributed articles to Coin World, Coins, Numismatic News, The Numismatist and other periodicals. He has contributed also to other books and videos. Bressett and co-editor Abe Kosoff were responsible for the Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins first published in 1977.
He served on the Assay Commission for 1966. He won the ANA Medal of Merit in 1978. He was named a Numismatic News Numismatic Ambassador in 1986. Elected to the ANA Board in 1989; vice president in 1993, president in 1995. Inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame in 1996. Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 1997. Farran Zerbe Memorial Award winner in 1998. Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Named Numismatist of the Year in 2004. In 2016 Bressett received the ANS Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the Rittenhouse Society. In 2018 he was awarded the Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic Writing. In 2021 he was on the Coin World list of The Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020.
Bressett refrained from buying and selling coins when he worked for Whitman to avoid any conflict of interest. Since then his collection has focused on oriental coins and odd and curious money. He has an extensive library and photo collection.
Bressett is the author of several books:
Alaska's Coinage Through the Years with Maurice Gould (1960). A second edition published (1965) included Kay and Nancy Dethridge as co-authors.
1960 Catalog of Hawaiian Coins, Tokens and Paper Money with Maurice Gould in 1960, revised in 1961. Hawaiian Coins, Tokens and Paper Money in 1961
The Fantastic 1804 Dollar with Eric Newman (1962)
A Guide Book of English Coins in 1962. Eight more editions were published until 1982.
Let's Collect Coins; An Introduction to a Fascinating Hobby, With Price Guide of Valuable Coins (1966). The ninth edition was published in 1990.
Buying and Selling United States Coins in 1970. The 12th edition was published in 1982.
Coin Collecting (Boy Scout Merit Badge Pamphlet) in 1975 to 1985.
"Vermont Copper Cents" in Studies in Money in Early America in 1976.
Basics of Coin Grading for U. S. Coins in 1982.
United States Coin Price Trends in 1990.
Collectible American Coins in 1991.
Guide Book of United States Currency (1993)
Coins of the Bible
In 2021 he was on the Coin World list of The Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020. He made the list again in 2022.
bio: ConAut 93; CW 5/17/1978; WWWest 84; correspondence, 1991
profile: CW 5/23/1990; NN/WWH 11/6/73; C4N Fall 2021
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Nova Constellatio Copper Coins [Photographic Plate]
Example of one of Kenneth Bressett's original photographic plates with Nova Constellatio copper coins. In the 1950s and 1960s students used to make these for communicating with other specialists who were researching various series. Bressett's Vermont plates eventually became the standard reference.