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

332 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.

  7. Sarah on August 13th, 2016 11:22 am

    We have just found, “The London Chronicles” a volume from 1874. Does it have any value?

  8. Penny on August 15th, 2016 12:44 pm

    I have a December 1944 first edition volume 8 The Eagle Screams newspaper, what might it be worth?

  9. GuyHeilenman on August 16th, 2016 12:22 pm

    Hello Sarah. It may. Please send details to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  10. GuyHeilenman on August 16th, 2016 12:23 pm

    Hello Penny – We have not come across anyone seeking this issue, but just in case, please send details to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com

  11. Carole Poll on August 24th, 2016 12:56 pm

    Could you tell me if there is any value to the newspaper — The Planet On Sunday. ? Only one issue published. 1996 Launched by Clifford Hards, and editor Austin Mitchelson, owner Hards didn’t like the article and did not publish a No 2 issue!!. June 16th 1996 contains news on Manchester bombings. The newspaper is in very good condition and was discovered from my late Mums possessions. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you, Mrs C, Poll Lancashire.

  12. Viviana on August 24th, 2016 1:31 pm

    Hi I have a newspaper to 1861 to 1865 it’s values?

  13. GuyHeilenman on August 26th, 2016 7:44 am

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

  14. GuyHeilenman on August 26th, 2016 7:46 am

    Hello Carole: Sorry, but we have no experience with this issue, and all of our appraisal estimates are based on prior sales. It is also too recent for us to have a comparable to aid in providing a meaningful answer. Sorry.

  15. Cynthia Jones on August 27th, 2016 5:26 pm

    I recently found an old copy of The New York Fireside Companion volume XXXI. The date is January 15, 1883. Can you tell me anything about the newspaper and are they collectible? Thanks.

  16. GuyHeilenman on August 29th, 2016 9:27 am

    Hello Cynthia: We have quite a few of this title as they are not too uncommon. IN our 40 years of experience, we do not know of content within this issue that would make it particularly collectible. Of course we are only guessing since we do not have this issue in hand.

  17. Laurent Mazzotti on September 2nd, 2016 5:25 pm

    Hello Jennifer. My name is Laurent, and I do collect bound volumes of The New York Times from 1939 to 1945. Mine are also in mint condition (white paper) which means that the newspaper was printed on rag paper instead of regular paper (which tends to brittle and yellow through the years). If it helps you, I paid my volumes between $50 (a great deal) and $120 each. Best wishes from LA,
    Laurent

  18. GuyHeilenman on September 6th, 2016 12:04 pm

    Hello Jennifer: In our opinion, Laurent’s comment’s are on the mark.

  19. Devon on September 7th, 2016 9:16 am

    I have a April 6 th 1917 , New York evening telegram , front headline – United States declares war on Germany . And July 21 1969 New York Times – men walk on the moon. Anyone interested

  20. GuyHeilenman on September 8th, 2016 1:09 pm

    Hello Devon: Send this information to Tim Hughes at timothy@rarenewspapers.com.

  21. Tara Jeeves on September 9th, 2016 5:36 pm

    Hello
    I have a Feb 6 1965 issue of star weekly
    Content includes princess Anne the world’s #1 teenager. ( cover story)

  22. Phillip on September 10th, 2016 2:17 pm

    Would you have any interest in a first print of the New York Evening Post from Nov. 16, 1801? Fairly good condition considering its 214 years old.

  23. earl on September 12th, 2016 12:30 am

    I have 1885 los ANgeles daily times new paper is it worth any thing

  24. Gary marsh on September 12th, 2016 2:55 am

    I have volume 62 of the sphere illustrated newspaper dated July 3 to September 25 1915 in hardback just wondered if there’s any valuation thanks

  25. GuyHeilenman on September 12th, 2016 8:46 am

    Hello Tara: All I can say is that in 40+ years of business, no one has ever asked for this content. Sorry.

  26. GuyHeilenman on September 12th, 2016 8:48 am

    Hello Phillip: We only purchase single issues if their estimated value is over $100. This would not be the case in this instance. Still, thanks for considering us.

  27. GuyHeilenman on September 12th, 2016 8:52 am

    Hello Earl: While unlikely, we would need more information to know for certain. Feel free to send the title (again, along with the exact date and a statement regarding condition and completeness to me at: guy@rarenewspapers.com.

  28. GuyHeilenman on September 12th, 2016 8:55 am

    Hello Gary: “The sphere illustrated newspaper”? Please send more details (exact title, city, pages/issue, etc.) to me at: guy@rarenewspapers.com – along with a few pictures, and I’ll let you know what I think. Thanks.

  29. Jessica Robinson on September 18th, 2016 4:23 pm

    Hi there. I have a copy of the Los Angeles Herald from when Elvis Presley died. Date is August 17, 1977, Vol CVII no. 140. Th a is for any help.

  30. Carole green on September 18th, 2016 10:54 pm

    Hello! Do you have any idea of what an : overseas daily mirror and Sunday pictorial. London Thursday February 14 1952 in very good condition valued at? Thank you

  31. GuyHeilenman on September 20th, 2016 6:32 am

    Hello Carole: We are unable to provide a value since we base our appraisals on previous sales of the same and/or similar. In this case, we have no comparables, and no one has asked for this. Sorry.

  32. GuyHeilenman on September 20th, 2016 6:34 am

    Hello Jessica: I wouldn’t say it has no value, but most collectors are only seeking original issues from Memphis. Other city reports typically go for a few dollars on eBay.

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