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

237 Responses to “Setting values for collectible newspapers…”

  1. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:20 pm

    Hello Ivan – Our 40 year track-record does not show that clippings have value. I guess there could always be exceptions, but we have yet to find one. Sorry.

  2. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:22 pm

    Hello Amanda – We only deal in the actual newspapers – so we have no idea. Sorry.

  3. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:31 pm

    Right now they are too common. Sorry.

  4. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:34 pm

    I am not aware that this has value. Sorry.

  5. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:35 pm

    Please send details to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com.

  6. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:37 pm

    These are too common at this time. Sorry

  7. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:42 pm

    Feel free to send detail (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  8. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:43 pm

    We have one in excellent shape currently selling for $60.

  9. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:44 pm

    Hello Paul,

    This is too big of a request to handle through a blog note. Feel free to submit details to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com.

  10. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:45 pm

    Hello Frederick – If it only the front page, it will only have minimal value. Otherwise, feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  11. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:46 pm

    Feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  12. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:48 pm

    Feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  13. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:49 pm

    Feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  14. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:50 pm

    If they are not from Memphis and in good condition, they will not currently have value. If they are, feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  15. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:51 pm

    Hello Eric – Feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  16. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:51 pm

    Hello Aubrey – Feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  17. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:56 pm

    This sounds like a birthday paper – which cost the buyer somewhere from $40-$55. I hope this helps.

  18. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:59 pm

    Hello Malcolm – Feel free to send details (title, date, description of the issue – perhaps even a pic or two) to timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  19. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 3:00 pm

    This does not currently have significant collector value.

  20. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 3:02 pm

    It is hard to know for sure without having it in hand, but in most cases only the Liverpool papers have real value. A NYT would also have some value.

  21. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 3:06 pm

    This sounds like a birthday paper – with only gift value (about $50) – not collector value.

  22. Lulu lia on January 14th, 2016 1:27 pm

    I have THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, DALLAS TEXAS, SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 1931.
    How is the value and where I can sell it?

  23. GuyHeilenman on January 15th, 2016 6:51 am

    Hello Lulu – Complete and in great condition, we’ve sold these for $50-$70. I hope this helps.

  24. Car on January 18th, 2016 10:15 am

    Have a 1963 New York Times complete paper of day Kennedy was shot. Value? If any

  25. GuyHeilenman on January 19th, 2016 8:41 am

    Complete and in great condition they go from $15 (to $40, but most go unsold as too many people saved them and still have them.

  26. marjory koch on January 26th, 2016 1:34 pm

    i have GRIT story edition newspapers from the year 1930. they were my grandmothers. Are they worth anything.

  27. GuyHeilenman on January 27th, 2016 2:48 pm

    Hello Marjory – Go ahead and send a list of dates (unless there are too many – then just give a rough total # of issues and the year range) to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  28. Daniel on January 31st, 2016 6:05 am

    I have a memorial edition fro Florida from the JFK assisnation. it contains articals from the evening star and the sentinel covering the whole event from the assassination of JFK to the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack ruby with a photo of the event that happened to Oswald. it’s been wrapped in plastic but the edges are in pretty bad shape. it’s readable. any interest? email my mom at blbookout@gmail.com. her name is betty.

  29. GuyHeilenman on February 1st, 2016 8:07 am

    Hello Daniel – Memorial/commemorative editions do not have collector value. Sorry.

  30. Robert on February 2nd, 2016 4:10 pm

    I have a rotogravure section of the San Francisco Chronicle from November 8, 1936 on the construction of the Bay Bridge in fair condition with some of the edges slighty ripped. What’s the value on that if you don’t mind my asking .

  31. Jim Davison on February 6th, 2016 10:35 am

    I have two 200 year old news papers was wondering what the value may be

  32. jesse on February 7th, 2016 5:03 pm

    Have a september 7th 1942 Milwaukee sentinal newspaper wondering how much it would be worth

  33. GuyHeilenman on February 9th, 2016 7:00 am

    Hello Robert, This sounds like a nice thing to have, but I do not think based on what you’ve said that it would have any real collector value. If we were to place it in a catalog (assuming it was in good shape), simply because it was from San Francisco we’d probably price it in the $25-$40 price-range – again, depending upon condition. Of course, without seeing it, this is just a guess.

  34. GuyHeilenman on February 9th, 2016 7:08 am

    Hello Jim, We need more information. Please send the title of the newspapers, the exact dates, and a mention of their conditions to me at guy@rarenewspapers.com – and I’ll get back to you.

  35. GuyHeilenman on February 9th, 2016 7:10 am

    Hello Jesse – It is impossible to know without having it in hand, but in our 40 years of experience, we have not become aware of any content reported on this date that would cause the issue to be desired by collectors. Sorry.

  36. Shelly on February 9th, 2016 8:07 pm

    I recently came across an old gazette type paper.. It’s an Arkansas centennial dated 1919. It has about 100 pages at least. It’s in pretty rough shape but all there that I can tell (possibly).. We found it in an attic.. Can you tell me if something like that is worth anything? Thanks!

  37. Tiffany on February 10th, 2016 9:41 pm

    Hi how much is a August 5th 1945 Dallas Morning News paper worth in good condition behind glass world war 2

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