Setting values for collectible newspapers…

September 19, 2008 by  
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

We are often asked “What’s my newspaper worth?” in phone calls and email messages. As one might suspect, there are many factors which determine value and much like a jeweler cannot give a value of a diamond by an email or telephone inquiry, our ethics do not permit us to place values on newspapers without seeing the issues in hand.

Many factors determine value. The more important include condition, desirability among collectors, extent of coverage, completeness of the issue, proximity of the city of publication to where the event happened, time lag between the event date and the reporting date, dramatic appeal (more so with 20th century issues), and location of the report within the issue (front page? page 3?). Other factors come into play with more significant events but those noted are the prime determinants of value.

From a personal perspective setting values has been an interesting process, as no guide book of values existed 30+ years ago when I started the business. I priced an item in my catalog for $10 and if I had twenty orders for it I knew the price was too low.  If no one ordered it the price was too high. Through the years, and by data basing sold prices (on index cards prior to the computer!), I’ve honed my own “price guide” based on actual sales, and it is this now-sophisticated database which we use to set values for new inventory as it arrives.

Do values continue to rise? In general, yes, but we are careful to never recommend the purchase of early newspapers for investment purposes. As is true of most collectibles, rarity and desirability determine where prices will be for the future.

But providing an historical perspective from our own files, back in October of 1981 we sold in our catalog #26 the NEW YORK HERALD of March 5, 1865 reporting the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, very nice condition, for $70. Just four months ago we sold another issue of the NEW YORK HERALD of March 5, 1865, also in very nice condition, for $535.

This is the first in a series of posts where we will compare the past and present values of newspapers based on actual sales. Stay tuned for more.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

Comments

306 Responses to “Setting values for collectible newspapers…”

  1. GuyHeilenman on July 21st, 2016 8:21 am

    Hello Amber, Please send a description and a picture or two to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  2. GuyHeilenman on July 21st, 2016 8:23 am

    Hello Marsha – There is no way to be certain without seeing it, but in our 40+ years of keeping track of such things we’ve yet to find a collectible issue for this date.

  3. GuyHeilenman on July 21st, 2016 8:25 am

    Hello Buzz – We only know about the newspapers themselves. We’re not sure where to send you for more info on this. Sorry.

  4. GuyHeilenman on July 21st, 2016 8:27 am

    Hello Gary, Please send a description (title, date, condition, completeness) and a picture or two to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  5. clinton otto on July 22nd, 2016 12:58 am

    Good day I’m Clinton iv got a wide collection of old world ward two and post cards and posters since 1938 till 1946 some of them are daily newspapers and estoricals evens. There’s about 45/50+. To my knowledge they are in a excellent condition I don’t know much about the value. If someone can help me please I can sent photos of issue. Thank you.clintin otto

  6. GuyHeilenman on July 25th, 2016 10:01 am

    Hello Clinton – We only deal with newspapers, and there are only a handful of dates from WWII that are collectible. If you have key events such as the bombing at Pearl Harbor, V-E Day, V-J Day, Hitler’s death, the end of the war, Hiroshima, etc., contact Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!