Collectible themes… additional thoughts…
September 28, 2009 by GuyHeilenman
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There is an endless variety of ways to collect early newspapers.
- The vast array of newspaper dates, titles, sizes and content would seem almost formidable should one decide to collect newspapers without a theme or focus. Even a small percentage of every newspaper title published would not only be a formidable task to assemble but would be too cumbersome to organize and store.
- But collecting by theme offers a fascinating challenge to cut through the forest of available titles to add only those issues to a collection which fit the scope of a special interest. And the areas of interest can be endless.
- Whatever one’s interest might be a newspaper collection can be assembled as an interesting complement. You like old radios? Collect newspapers reporting the development of the radio and its antecedents from the telegraph to satellite radio. Or collect newspapers with advertisements of the radios in your collection. You like military history? Collect newspapers reporting major battles of each of America’s conflicts from the French & Indian War to the Gulf War. Politics? Collect issues covering the elections, or inaugurations of each president from George Washington to the present. Or collect at least one of each of the annual state-of-the-union addresses beginning with Washington (yes, he started the tradition which continues today). Or perhaps presidential deaths, or significant policy pronouncements.
- The Wild West, 20th century gangsters, sports heroes, the weird & bizarre, major tragedies, scientific developments are just a few themes. More specific topics can result in a very focused collection themed on just the Civil War or World War II or Western exploration or 19th century baseball to name a few.
- Less event-focused collections can also result in an intriguing variety of issues, such as one newspaper from every decade from the 1650’s to the present showing the progression & evolution of newspaper publishing from its infancy to the internet. Huge headlines of any event can provide for a very dramatic & displayable collection, or erroneous reports (Dewy Defeats Truman” is the most famous, but there are many more), printing errors (wrong dates, upside-down type, misspelled headlines, etc.) can result in an interesting collection.
Note: If you are still having trouble deciding on a theme upon which to begin centering your collection, consider the History’s Newsstand Store’s or the Rare & Early Newspapers' list of categories as potential starting points. Many collectors began their collections by amassing a low-end (low priced) issue from each decade from the mid-1700’s through the mid-20th century. A basic issue from each U.S. President’s term of office is also a popular theme.
- Given the tens of thousands of titles and the 400 year span of newspaper publishing the themes of collecting are virtually endless. Explore and widen your interest by adding newspapers to your collection. A fascinating world of collectibles awaits you.
The list of collecting strategies is endless. Feel free to contribute ideas of your own.
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