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

314 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.

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