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

412 Responses to “Setting values for collectible newspapers…”

  1. John E Walters on January 29th, 2017 10:30 am

    I have a March 13, 1862 National Intelligencer. I believe it is a full issue but I have nothing to judge from. I would like to have it appraised, but have not been able to find any appraisers in my area. I live in Houston, TX. Could you direct me to any lists of appraisers in this area?

  2. Tracy Seegars on January 31st, 2017 12:32 pm

    I have a picture of Lincoln and i believe was in family over 70 years and on the back of frame number is 4498 on back and i would like to know what is worth of picture of Lincoln. This is my first time here

  3. Mr.william j Young on January 31st, 2017 12:37 pm

    I would like to know the worth picture of Lincoln and the back of frame is copy or print not sure on back is 4498

  4. Jesse Liverman on February 8th, 2017 3:46 pm

    I have a news and observer from December 8 1941 and was wondering what it could be worth if anything

  5. GuyHeilenman on February 21st, 2017 10:47 am

    Hello Jesse: 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 – exact dates, photos, etc.. Thanks.

  6. GuyHeilenman on February 21st, 2017 10:52 am

    Unfortunately we only know about newspapers. We are also not sure where to send you for help with this. Sorry.

  7. GuyHeilenman on February 21st, 2017 10:55 am

    Hello Tracy: Unfortunately we only know about newspapers. We are also not sure where to send you for help with this. Sorry.

  8. GuyHeilenman on February 21st, 2017 11:00 am

    Hello John: 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 – exact dates, photos, etc.. Thanks.

  9. Clyde Dalton on March 6th, 2017 1:07 pm

    I’ve got a Pearl Harbor newspaper Honolulu front page in good shape

  10. Anna Kulikowski on March 11th, 2017 5:35 pm

    I have chicago newspapers from 1902 -2006.
    Many are history related such as the landing on the moon. JFK assassination. Princess Diana death and funeral . 9/11 attack on towers .
    The older 1902 -1930s are mostly murder cases and reward for capture of criminal articles. All front covers . I love in Chicago . where can I sell these chicago old news papers. I have about 100 Of them.

  11. GuyHeilenman on March 13th, 2017 1:20 pm

    Hello Anna: Sorry to be a pain, but 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 – exact date, photos, etc.. Thanks.

  12. GuyHeilenman on March 13th, 2017 1:23 pm

    Hello Clyde: Sorry to be a pain, but 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 – exact date, photos, etc.. Thanks.

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