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Setting values for collectible newspapers…

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 [1] 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. [2]

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 [3], 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.

508 Comments (Open | Close)

508 Comments To "Setting values for collectible newspapers…"

#1 Comment By Brian Hunt On 07/08/2018 @ 10:54 am

I have a August 12, 1676 Boston Herald traveler really good shape what is this paper Laura

#2 Comment By Martin sisneros On 07/09/2018 @ 9:19 am

Ok I just wanna know the value of what I have or at least some insite of what it could be worth

#3 Comment By Tamara Larson On 07/19/2018 @ 10:27 pm

Does no one read the webpage?? They aren’t going to give you a value folks unless it’s able to be physically looked at… hence the same msg over and over from the administrator! Sometimes ppl are so silly! Lol! I have a question but I shall simply email you at the email address that you give over… and over… and over.

#4 Comment By GuyHeilenman On 07/31/2018 @ 9:48 am

Thank you Tamara. 🙂

#5 Comment By GuyHeilenman On 07/31/2018 @ 9:50 am

Send a list of titles and dates to me at [4].

#6 Comment By GuyHeilenman On 07/31/2018 @ 9:50 am

Hello Laura/Brian – Sorry, but we do not monitor such questions from here. Please send us information regarding what you have to us at [5]. Thanks for your understanding.

#7 Comment By Keith Reynolds On 11/11/2018 @ 2:44 pm

Who, where and how do we contact someone about a New York Harald paper published April 1865 the day after Lincoln’s death in very good condition

#8 Comment By GuyHeilenman On 11/21/2018 @ 7:59 am

Send a few close-up images to me at: [4]