Setting values for collectible newspapers…

September 19, 2008 by  
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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.

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Comments

40 Responses to “Setting values for collectible newspapers…”

  1. Todd And on September 25th, 2008 11:06 am

    Interesting. Using an inflation calculator, $70 in 1981 has the same buying power as approximately $169 in 2008. The percentage difference between $169 and $525 ts about 217 percent. That’s about an eight percent increase annually. in the 1865 Lincoln inauguration paper. Sounds like a safe investment to me. Guy, being a former math teacher, can double check my work. :)

  2. Morris Brill on September 27th, 2008 2:13 pm

    I am a collector of newspapers only and have no intent of selling any of my collection. Still, I am interested in having an idea of what some of my newspapers are worth.

    One way that I make this determination is to review the listings on Ebay daily. If I see a newspaper listed that I own (though it may not be the same nameplate) I save it to my Watched Items.

    Of course I take note of the date and condition of the paper being auctioned so as to establish a true comparison.

    I observe the bidding activity on the paper and note the final selling price. This gives me a guideline as to what the market will bear and how much interest there is concerning the event reported.

    Morris

  3. wade tramm on March 10th, 2009 8:23 am

    I have a new york paper from 1851 in great condition. Im curious for any feedback as to who its signed by and why it was saved in a glass case?

  4. David Villasenor on March 18th, 2009 12:10 pm

    Keep up the great work!!! You are doing a great deed in preserving our history and inspiring others to do the same. I have been collecting newspapers for years and enjoy every minute of it. Family and friends enjoy seeing my collection. It sad to know that many historical newspapers have been destroyed only to make room for microfiche, but a least others like you care. Thank you.

  5. GuyHeilenman on March 25th, 2009 6:54 am

    One of the joys of collecting rare newspapers is finding a name hand-written at the top of the issue. This typically is the original recipient of the issue (written by the carrier/postal service for delivery identification). In the past, there would be no way of tracking down who this might be. However, thanks to Google, a collector can Google the name and begin the “hunt”. :)

  6. carlcripps on October 2nd, 2009 5:25 am

    re: name at top of paper, i recently obtained a washington paper from of course timothy hughes with the name j. buchannan. i wonder. there is a question i would like to ask also about god forgive “reprints”. at a flea market i saw a 1934 paper about dillinger. very very graphic on his death. on the back page under name of chicago paper it says reprinted from yesterdays late edition. why would someone reprint a paper the next day if this is what it means. hope somebody can shed some lite on this. thanks so much. carl.

  7. Tim Hughes on October 2nd, 2009 6:28 am

    Carl – Almost always a name penned at the top of a newspaper is that of the subscriber. Contrary to what some suspect it is not an autograph of that person, but rather was written by someone at the newspaper office to note who was to receive that issue. We once had a bound volume of a Washington, D.C. newspaper which was owned by Buchanan, with his name written at the top of each issue. The issue you purchased came from that volume. It’s a nice “association” item, knowing that James Buchanan actually read that issue.

    As for the reprint of the Dillinger newspaper, such issues abound. One must be very careful in buying from reputable dealers or collectors to avoid getting “stung” by newspapers which are not authentic.
    Tim

  8. SteveJones on October 2nd, 2009 10:22 am

    I was left a copy of the new york american, dated January 04, 1907.
    The issue is brittle and aged accordingly, as it was only laid flat in a box for many years.

    Having recently discovered this newspaper while going through some boxes left by my father, I am apprehensive to examine past the front page.

    What would be my next step to either preserve or yes, determine the value of this paper.
    I have no way of knowing if this find is in its entirety.

    Assistance is appreciated. Thank you

  9. KEITH on June 11th, 2010 3:53 pm

    I HAVE A RE-ISSUE NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER OF THE ASSANATION OF JFK. NOV /23/1963 WHICH WAS A SATURDAY,IT IS STILL IN PLASTIC. WHAT IS IT,S VALUE?

  10. Raymond on July 22nd, 2011 3:21 pm

    I have a newspaper called “keyhole”, america’s original sexpose newspaper. It is dated Tuesday, March 22nd, 1966. Does anyone know anything about this or what it may be worth?

  11. Myron Cowher on August 28th, 2011 11:36 am

    you like to get opinion on value of several newspaper prints from the 911 day.

  12. Nancy Baun on September 1st, 2011 3:17 pm

    I found in my mothers belongings a : Volume-1 Issue-1 dated Evening May 28, 1873 South Bend Tribune.. Sorry to say it is folded, brittle and yellowed. While Im thinking the condition warrents little value, I would love to preserve this old fellow… If I can? Any suggestions as to what I should I do?
    Thank you for your time,
    Nancy

  13. Jason on September 9th, 2011 12:50 pm

    I have 4 early morning first editions from Sept 12th 2001, i waited up in my dorm room for the newpaper to be delivered.

    1 is the New York Times, 1 is the Pocono Record, 1 is USA Today, 1 is the Times Tribune.

    I dare never to sell them as they are a part of me and that day, but is there any value to them?

  14. TimHughes on September 9th, 2011 12:57 pm

    Hello – Not to much value in issues dated Sept. 12, 2001. Since the event is referred to as “September 11″, this will be the date of newspapers people will want going forward. They are in the minority as must newspapers had already put their newspaper on the press by 9:00 a.m., but the afternoon papers, and those that printed an “Extra” edition, had reports dated September 11.

  15. Sherri on September 12th, 2011 10:31 am

    What would the value of a Worcester Telegram from Sept. 11, 2001 be? I have one in excellent condition.

  16. Tim Hughes on September 12th, 2011 11:58 am

    Sherri – They can vary, but generally issues dated September 11 might bring $10 to $30 or so on eBay. They are more desirable than issues dated September 12 of which there are more, as morning newspaper had already printed their editions before the disaster happened.

  17. Sam on September 14th, 2011 3:05 pm

    Hi, I am in posession of 10 newspapers from july 21st 1969. they are all in nice condition with some yellowing around the edges and no tearing. 9 of the newspapers are from the Philadelphia Inquirer and 1 is from the New York Times. My grandfather has kept these sealed since the day they were printed all those many years ago. I was wondering if you can possibly give me an estimate on the value of these newspapers
    Thanks,
    Sam

  18. Tim Hughes on September 14th, 2011 3:48 pm

    If you go to our website: http://www.rarenewspapers.com, you will see we have other issues of this date for $60 retail, in great condition. But we cater to serious newspaper collectors who want only the “best of the best” so we tend to get more for quality items than others. You will likely find them selling on eBay for $20 to $30 or so. Condition means everything!

  19. MIlauris on September 15th, 2011 1:20 pm

    hey i have a couple news papers by “The Sunday Magazine” dated around 1904 and i wanted to know if they were of any value. if so could you give me an estimate as to what they might be worth. thank you.

  20. Matt Baustert on September 29th, 2011 1:36 pm

    Hi, I have a complete set of Woodstock 1999 newspapers from the host city of Rome NY. (the Rome Sentinel-circulation @35,000). Haven’t seen them anywhere on the internet and trying to determine wheteher I should hang on to them or let them go to a collector. I have 5 total -Thursday (day before event) thru Monday (day after) Rome does not have a Sunday paper but I have 1 from the closest one to it. The Utica OD. All papers are complete, including Woodstock survival guide and all other inserts. I guess I’m just trying to find out if they have peaked in value or if they will appreciate. Any helep or knowledge is greatly appreciated! Thanks, Matt

  21. Tim Hughes on September 29th, 2011 1:40 pm

    If you have the 30th anniversary issues, my opinion is they have no collectibility. Collectors would want issues from during Woodstock in 1969. Anniversary issues of virtually all historic events tend to not be desired by serious collectors.

    Best wishes,
    Tim Hughes

  22. Darrel Barnard on October 11th, 2011 2:32 pm

    I have 13 bound volumes (#24 thru #37) of…..”THE WEEKLY MIRROR” of Minneapolis,Minnesota…..starting date of SEPT 8th 1917 thru ending date of Nov 23rd 1931…..your thoughts on possiable value ???????….PLEASE….and THANK YOU !!!!!!!

  23. Jim Rice on January 30th, 2012 5:20 pm

    I have a Tacoma News Tribune from the 2000 Presidential election. Early in the AM after the election they sent out that days paper with the headline “Bush Wins”. Minutes later Florida became too close to call. The Tribune sent its’ trucks out and pulled all the news papers back. They then did a rerun of the exact same paper and the only change was the headline and story with the headline. The new headline said “America Awaits a President”.
    I was fortunate enough to get one of each paper.
    What do collectors call this?

  24. Diana Haughton on March 22nd, 2012 5:41 pm

    I have a collection of newspapers and an aluminum printing of Obama in office. Some from chicago, indiana, and I believe other places. Me and my fiance got them from a family friend. I don’t really want to post them all separate on ebay because there are so many, but with a new baby and the space we need I want to get rid of them. Would anyone know how much they could be worth or even if they are worth enough to put on ebay? I’ve seen so many on there that I believe it would be almost impossible to sell them.

  25. Paula on March 29th, 2012 5:36 pm

    I have at least 16 copies of The Inauguration of Barack Obama and these are in mint condition.
    I went crazy buying copies that day. I know for a fact that copies of his victory of nomination of the Democratic party were sold for $5000 U.S. So as collector of other historic items I know the value of my collection has increased.
    I interested in selling as I have extra copies in addition to my collection.

    Can you direct me to a trust worthy and reputable source?

    Thanks Paula

  26. Dana on May 13th, 2012 7:02 pm

    I have a newspaper from 1963 from the Great Falls Tribune in Great Falls, Montana. The front page is about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The paper is a little yellow but has not been opened. i also have one from the date that Elvis Presley died. I don’t know how to find out the value of these to newspapers. Anyone have an idea?

  27. Tina on May 19th, 2012 1:00 am

    I need help I have 28 original copies of The Sporting News with the original pckage that it also came in. I am interested in sellling it. How do I find the values for these.
    the Sporting News i believe the compay is no loger in business I can provide you with pictures showing the paper and the original newspaper package that is came in. I have one that it is easy to acess with damageing anything and on the envelope the datre 1967 and the company address at the time was The Sporting News 2018 Washington Ave St Lous Missouri 63166.

  28. Davide Waldman on May 22nd, 2012 4:00 pm

    Hello Tim,

    I have 289 issue of the National Intelligencer (Gales & Seton) dating from 1819 through 1830. Most are in goood condition with the expected foxing and staining. There are some small holes at some folds. A few (>10%) have damage and loss of material however the majority of the collection is in surprisingly good condition. The paper I believe is rag and therefore not brittle and crumbling, very handleable and readable.
    Any input or suggestions in locating a possible buyer would be appreciated. I have an inventory and photographs available.
    Thank you very much,
    David Waldman
    dhwaldman@yahoo.com

  29. GuyHeilenman on May 29th, 2012 7:07 am

    Hello David,

    Please contact Tim at timothy@rarenewspapers.com. He will respond in short order. Thanks – Guy

  30. Ruben Ramirez on September 2nd, 2012 9:28 am

    I have aquired boxes of newspapers with a lot of older stars. I also have photo albums of clipping of news paper.
    There are boxes of collectible mamgazines.
    lots of other collectible stuff (Walt Disney, Hanna barbera, Charlie Brown , Record albums,45′s etc…
    Where do I start? not my area.
    Thanks,
    Ruben (360 561-6183

  31. John on October 16th, 2012 8:39 pm

    I live in Kansas City, MO. I have a collection of newspapers that I’d like to have appraised. They are from the Space Shuttle launch in 1969. They are complete issues and are in excellent condition. They are as follows…

    The Kansas City Times- “WALK ON MOON”, 56 pages, Monday July 21, 1969.

    The Kansas City Times- “HEROES RACE HOME”, 36 pages, Tuesday July 22, 1969

    The Kansas City Star- “MOON HEROES BACK”, 36 pages, Thursday July 24, 1969

    The Kansas City Times- “EPIC TRIP TO MOON TO END TODAY”, 76 pages, Thursday July 24, 1969

    The Kansas City Times- “HURRAHS BY WORLD”, 40 pages, Friday July 25, 1969

    The Kansas City Star- “TO THE MOON…AND HOME”, (Commemorative Edition), Saturday July 26, 1969

    Any advice on how I can have these appraised, or what their values may be…??

    Thank you- John

  32. TimHughes on October 26th, 2012 7:54 am

    Hello – We cannot ethically appraise newspapers without seeing them in our hands, however in general issues from the Apollo 11 mission hold little collectable value as they are not considered sufficiently “old”. The July 21 issue of 1969 is collectable as it announces man landing on the moon but since they were saved by the millions at that time they remain quite common and sell on ebay for $15 – $25 or so depending on graphic appeal. The other issues before & after the landing are not collectable.

    Tim Hughes

  33. kris on October 30th, 2012 9:20 pm

    Harpers weekly oct 15 1898

  34. Shedon on November 7th, 2012 2:14 am

    I have the NY daily news issues of nov 5th 2008 when Obama won his 1st term and I have the Jan issue of his 1st day in office, they are in excelent condition, i also have the issue follow the death of michael Jackson. just trying to get an idea of how much these items might be worth if anything…

  35. Tim Hughes on November 7th, 2012 7:05 am

    Unfortunately these events are much too recent so they have little if any collector value, nor do I believe they will ever have much value because of the large quantities that have been saved. We tend to be a very collector-oriented society so most major events of the last 20+ years have been saved in such large numbers that I doubt they will ever command much value. To this day–nearly 50 years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy–there are far more newspapers on this event on the market than collectors wanting to buy them.

  36. Stanley Hilton on November 19th, 2012 2:14 pm

    I have a newspaper showing John Kennedy’s funeral and Oswald’s assassination. I also have a newspaper declaring the end of the war with Japan. Are these papers worth anything?

  37. Michael on December 14th, 2012 7:27 pm

    I have a newspaper from the clevland press. It was the monday paper for july 21st 1969. I was wondering that since it’s about the apollo11 mission that it would be worth something?

  38. Renee on January 30th, 2013 2:46 pm

    I have a copy of the first newspaper in the U.S. called the Bofton News-Letter and dated Monday April 17 to Monday April 24 1704. I tried researching its value but no luck. Please assist. Thank you in advance
    Renee

  39. Tim Hughes on January 30th, 2013 2:50 pm

    Renee- I’m sure you have one of the many reprint editions of the newspaper, which turn up very often. They are not collectible nor do they have any value. Further information can be found at the Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/circulars/newsletter.txt

  40. Lynda Glant on July 29th, 2014 6:14 pm

    Have newspaper : Daily News, New York’s Picture Newspaper Saturday, November 23 1963, President Killed, also newspaper : The Philadelphia Inquirer, Public Ledger, Final City Edition for Monday morning, November 25, 1963, Oswald Shot to Death. Question how much theseare worth.

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