My Collecting Story… Glenn Guttman…

June 25, 2009 by  
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The High Point of My Collecting Experience:


I started collecting “antique” newspapers after responding to an ad in the back of a Coin World magazine where Tim Hughes was offering his latest catalog of old newspapers.  I was amazed at the variety of selections available, the reasonableness of the prices for items that were well over 100 years of age and the beauty of many of the features within the pages of the newspapers.

As a native of Chicago, one of the first items I purchased back in the early 90’s was a Harper’s Weekly dating back to 1871, just a couple of weeks after the Great Chicago Fire.  I had purchased the item in very good condition from Tim for around $30-45 as I recall.  The issue was chock full of many interesting items surrounding details of the Great Fire, how it started, what area it consumed, engravings of the landscape after the fire, etc.  There were a couple of Nast cartoons as I recall in the magazine (newspaper) as well. Overall, a very interesting piece.

One day, I had heard the “Antiques Roadshow” was filming in Chicago, at Navy Pier and my wife and I decided to go with two items.  She brought this intricate and delicately framed picture which was created out of shiny silk stitching that was unlike anything I (or anyone else) had ever seen.  Truly a unique item.

We also brought my Harper’s Weekly to get an idea as to its value from an independent appraiser.

After about 2 hours of standing in line, finally someone came to analyze the items brought in by my wife and I.  A woman saw what my wife had and was quite intrigued and asked if it could be reviewed by the art expert.  We were taken out of line and my wife and I started “high-fiving” each other thinking we had hit the jackpot with our great find.  Once looked at by the art appraiser, our hopes were deflated once we learned that our picture was a widely produced, and factory manufactured piece of no intrinsic value whatsoever.  A complete bust in terms of value.  Maybe worth $20 the expert stated.

Next, my newspaper and I were taken to a review appraiser who looked at the item carefully, smiling all the while, but saying nothing.  He then spoke to what turned out to be one of the on-set producers and then came to us and asked if we were interested in being taped for the show with our item. They said it was a fascinating piece and that being filmed in Chicago, with an article of such local interest, it would be a wonderful addition to the show.  We accepted the invitation and took a seat awaiting our turn to discuss the item on camera.

Three more hours passed and nothing was happening.  Despite our numerous requests to get an idea as to when we would be called to begin filming, we received no information.  We were hungry, tired, and had been sitting/standing/sitting and fidgeting for over 5 hours with no clue as to when our “15 minutes of fame” would occur.  Finally, my wife said she had had it and that it was time to go.  We informed the producer of our intent to leave and asked that our item be appraised if possible.  The producer tried to persuade us to continue to wait, but enough time had elapsed to fill a double-header in baseball, with no indication that we would ever be called to the camera.

Anyway, about a half-hour later, the appraiser came and took a look at the item again, went through the many details he had noticed which made the magazine (newspaper) so interesting. And five minutes later he told us that the newspaper we purchased, in the Chicagoland area, if offered at auction, would probably fetch an offer of around $200 by his estimation.

It was a day I rather enjoyed but for the exasperating wait for many hours.

Thanks Tim for offering such great pieces of history to the public and sharing your passion with the rest of the world.  It’s provided many years of fun.

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Thanks for sharing your story Glenn.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

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