My Collecting Story… Glenn Guttman…

June 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The High Point of My Collecting Experience:

chicago_fire

I started collecting “antique” newspapers after responding to an ad in the back of a Coin World magazine where Tim Hughes was offering his latest catalog of old newspapers.  I was amazed at the variety of selections available, the reasonableness of the prices for items that were well over 100 years of age and the beauty of many of the features within the pages of the newspapers.

As a native of Chicago, one of the first items I purchased back in the early 90′s was a Harper’s Weekly dating back to 1871, just a couple of weeks after the Great Chicago Fire.  I had purchased the item in very good condition from Tim for around $30-45 as I recall.  The issue was chock full of many interesting items surrounding details of the Great Fire, how it started, what area it consumed, engravings of the landscape after the fire, etc.  There were a couple of Nast cartoons as I recall in the magazine (newspaper) as well. Overall, a very interesting piece.

One day, I had heard the “Antiques Roadshow” was filming in Chicago, at Navy Pier and my wife and I decided to go with two items.  She brought this intricate and delicately framed picture which was created out of shiny silk stitching that was unlike anything I (or anyone else) had ever seen.  Truly a unique item.

We also brought my Harper’s Weekly to get an idea as to its value from an independent appraiser.

After about 2 hours of standing in line, finally someone came to analyze the items brought in by my wife and I.  A woman saw what my wife had and was quite intrigued and asked if it could be reviewed by the art expert.  We were taken out of line and my wife and I started “high-fiving” each other thinking we had hit the jackpot with our great find.  Once looked at by the art appraiser, our hopes were deflated once we learned that our picture was a widely produced, and factory manufactured piece of no intrinsic value whatsoever.  A complete bust in terms of value.  Maybe worth $20 the expert stated.

Next, my newspaper and I were taken to a review appraiser who looked at the item carefully, smiling all the while, but saying nothing.  He then spoke to what turned out to be one of the on-set producers and then came to us and asked if we were interested in being taped for the show with our item. They said it was a fascinating piece and that being filmed in Chicago, with an article of such local interest, it would be a wonderful addition to the show.  We accepted the invitation and took a seat awaiting our turn to discuss the item on camera.

Three more hours passed and nothing was happening.  Despite our numerous requests to get an idea as to when we would be called to begin filming, we received no information.  We were hungry, tired, and had been sitting/standing/sitting and fidgeting for over 5 hours with no clue as to when our “15 minutes of fame” would occur.  Finally, my wife said she had had it and that it was time to go.  We informed the producer of our intent to leave and asked that our item be appraised if possible.  The producer tried to persuade us to continue to wait, but enough time had elapsed to fill a double-header in baseball, with no indication that we would ever be called to the camera.

Anyway, about a half-hour later, the appraiser came and took a look at the item again, went through the many details he had noticed which made the magazine (newspaper) so interesting. And five minutes later he told us that the newspaper we purchased, in the Chicagoland area, if offered at auction, would probably fetch an offer of around $200 by his estimation.

It was a day I rather enjoyed but for the exasperating wait for many hours.

Thanks Tim for offering such great pieces of history to the public and sharing your passion with the rest of the world.  It’s provided many years of fun.

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Thanks for sharing your story Glenn.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Brent Lacy…

June 11, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

brent_lacyI began collecting a few papers several years ago, by way of genealogy.   For years I had been researching my family tree, started by an obituary of my gg-grandfather that mentioned that he fought in the civil war and was from Kentucky.  Research led me to find out many things about where he came from and also some records from the war.  One thing I found out was the unit he was fighting with and date that he was taken prisoner.  To put together a book for the family, I began to look for more information to fill out the story other than who begat who.  During this time I found old newspapers I began to look for anything that mentioned his commander or unit and papers around the time of his capture.  What I found was amazing several papers from the days before and after contained first hand accounts and reports of the battles he was in.  Information on where they were on specific days and time and what they were encountering told at the time, became invaluable to filling out his story.  One story in particular locked me in, one that told of troops sneaking upon the enemy (my ancestors unit) early one morning and taking several prisoners.  That was the day my ancestor was taken captive, and here was a newspaper article from 1864 describing the actual event.  This was news of the day written in the day, not some glossed over or condensed history book and who knows he could have possibly read the same newspaper article at some point!  I was hooked.  I still look for things related to him and also now look for what was going on in other locales where other ancestors lived.  It has made for fascinating genealogical research to see what was reported then and what they would have been seeing as current news, filling out the story of our ancestors lives.  Well that’s my story.   I am thankful for the www.rarenewspapers website.

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Thanks for sharing your story Brent.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Richard Sloan…

May 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

lincoln_assassination_ny_heI’ve been interested in the Lincoln assassination ever since I was thirteen years old.   The 19th century images really grabbed me, and continue to give me a sense of what took place.  As a New Yorker, my interest expanded to Lincoln’s N.Y.C. funeral, Lincoln’s prior trips to NY, Mrs. Lincoln’s NYC shopping sprees, and John Wilkes Booth’s activities in the city.  In the course of all of this, I also became interested in 19th century NY photographers, theaters, hotels, and department stores.  It has become obvious to me that period photographs convey and impart just so much.  The old newspapers turned out to be the missing ingredient.  There is nothing like holding an old NYC newspaper in my hand (or a weekly like Harper’s, Leslie’s, Gleason’s, etc;).  Turning old pages that someone had turned in 1865 doesn’t just provide research information; it takes me back in time and shows me what life was like.  It’s a wonderful experience to re-capture the sense of immediacy and news-gathering that someone had experienced back then when he or she turned those very same pages — whether it’s reading the details of Lincoln’s 1861 arrival in the city, reading the details of such events as his assassination, his funeral, finding out what parades took place in town the previous day, or what shows are currently playing in town.  Old newspapers are time machines!

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Thanks for sharing your story Richard. If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field. Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story. We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Campaign newspapers: a hobby within a hobby…

January 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Before the days of television, radio and certainly the internet, how did Presidential candidates get their platforms across the the electorate? Daily newspapers could not be counted upon as most were politically aligned with one of the parties so reporting had an obvious bias.

“Campaign newspapers” were one vehicle for candidates. Rather than rely on the ethics of the local publisher, parties produced their own newspapers during the campaign with the emphasis on the platform of the candidate. Logically such newspapers were short-lived and are relatively rare today as a result.

William Miles did a book titled: “The People’s Voice: An Annotated Bibliography of American Presidential Campaign Newspapers, 1828-1984″ which lists chronologically and by party over 700 titles. The following is excerpted from his Preface:

“Every four years since at least 1828 the campaign newspaper, like the campaign biography, song, poster, and similar election paraphernalia, has reappeared as a familiar part of the American presidential electoral process. Unlike the general party or partisan newspaper, these sheets were published specifically to support the cause of an aspiring candidate or an officially nominated ticket. Usually issued only during the period of the campaign itself, they were the campaign documents that emphasized the strengths and the importance of political organization at all levels; and to attack, generally in vitriolic language, the opposition. No matter if established and issued by party committees or by committed private individuals, or as “extras” and subsidized papers by already established partisan journals, the purpose was the same: organize the party faithful to work on behalf or electing the national, and by extension, the state and local tickets.”

Such elusive titles do provide an interesting array of titles including “Hickory Sprout” “Coon Hunter” “Harry Of The West” “Rebel Youth” “Hickory Tree” “On Our Way” “Rail Splitter” “Sober Second Thought” “Soup-Spiller” “Magician” “Grape Shot”  “Rough & Ready” “Barnburner” “Dirty Shirt” “Kickapoo” and “Straight-Out Harrisonian” to name but a few.

Collecting campaign newspapers can be a fascinating hobby within a hobby, if only for the variety of titles available. Do you have any great-named campaign newspapers in your collection? Feel free to share.

Questions… Questions? Questions!

September 25, 2008 by · 18 Comments 

Given that collecting early and rare newspapers is a relatively unknown hobby,  there is certainly a wealth of questions which continually come our way by those intrigued by what we offer.

“Don’t the old ones just fall apart?” “Are your issues genuine?” “Do you just sell clippings?” “How big are the headlines?” “Why is the newspaper so white–it can’t be genuine!” “Why are the prices so low?” “Where do you get these newspapers?” “What determines a newspaper’s value?”. etc., etc.

A prime purpose of this blog is to create an atmosphere where we can encourage an on-going discourse about the hobby, and allow everyone to pose questions and topics for discussion, which we will be happy to address in future posts.

Do be in touch with your questions, thoughts, or observations on the hobby. We encourage all to participate and to respond to one another’s thoughts to foster an interesting and meaningful exchange on this fascinating hobby.  The easiest way to suggest topics and/or offer questions for future discussion is by responding to this post.  Thanks in advance for joining the discussion!

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