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

360 Responses to “Setting values for collectible newspapers…”

  1. Daria Piczak on October 21st, 2016 6:13 pm

    Hello, I have to The Geographic magazines dated May 1, 1893 and May 7, 1894 in very good condition. I would like some guidance to get an appraisel or are you interested. Thank you

  2. GuyHeilenman on October 25th, 2016 10:23 am

    Hello Dari: We do not deal in magazines. Try: http://www.periodyssey.com/

  3. Karen Petit on October 30th, 2016 10:03 am

    I have the last edition of The National Observer newspaper dated July 11, 1977. I was wondering if it was of any value? It is in pretty good condition.
    Thank you.

  4. Robert easson on October 30th, 2016 2:41 pm

    I have the final news of the world edition in pristine condition as I bought two that last day one to read one to keep does anyone have any idea how much it would be worth

  5. Jim Davis on October 30th, 2016 4:22 pm

    I have a certified May 8th 1930 New York Herald Tribune newspaper….any idea what it could be worth?

  6. GuyHeilenman on October 31st, 2016 11:40 am

    Hello Karen: We do not monitor requests concerning the value of newspapers through this venue – but we would be glad to assist. If you have a newspaper or a collection for which you are seeking an appraisal, please contact us directly at info@rarenewspapers.com. Please include as many details as possible. Thanks.

  7. GuyHeilenman on October 31st, 2016 11:41 am

    Hello Robert: We do not monitor requests concerning the value of newspapers through this venue – but we would be glad to assist. If you have a newspaper or a collection for which you are seeking an appraisal, please contact us directly at info@rarenewspapers.com. Please include as many details as possible. Thanks.

  8. GuyHeilenman on October 31st, 2016 11:41 am

    Hello Jim: We do not monitor requests concerning the value of newspapers through this venue – but we would be glad to assist. If you have a newspaper or a collection for which you are seeking an appraisal, please contact us directly at info@rarenewspapers.com. Please include as many details as possible. Thanks.

  9. Joey on November 1st, 2016 8:14 pm

    I have a 1941 st louis times of the attack on pearl harbor and i have 3 editions of it with the smudge /no dates on pages whats your guess on the value mint condition

  10. GuyHeilenman on November 2nd, 2016 9:50 am

    Hello Joey: We do not monitor requests concerning the value of newspapers through this venue – but we would be glad to assist. If you have a newspaper or a collection for which you are seeking an appraisal, please contact us directly at info@rarenewspapers.com. Please include as many details as possible. Thanks.

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