A Thankful Heart from the Mouth of Babes…

September 20, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes an image perfectly captures an emotion or a moment in time. Sometimes that moment is in the present but sometimes it won’t be noticed for decades. Recently, as I was putting together issues for one of our collectors, I came across an image on the front of a Harper’s Weekly dated January 4, 1902 which was that perfect snapshot. Our culture seems to have gotten murky and a bit hard to decipher at times., but on the front of the photo of a little boy captured the simplicity of his life. He was thankful for a man who had sacrificed greatly to make his life better. Perhaps, as a way to cut through the muck and mire of our time, a thankful heart is just what our culture… what we… what I need.

Lincoln & Whitman … it’s all in the perspective…

March 8, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”… The concept of polar opposites has always been fascinating to me and as I perused issues we have dated March 8 across the decades, the following two contrasting events caught my eye:

On March 8, 1865, Abraham Lincoln gave his 2nd Inaugural address. The country had spent the last several years in despair as brother killed brother, parents grieved and wives desperately tried to determine how they would survive without their husbands. The Civil War was the darkest period in our young countries history, arguably, even to this day. President Lincoln bore this heavy mantle with grace and dignity when it may have killed a man of lesser conviction.
Simultaneously, Walt Whitman was taking the epic that was the American Story and transforming even it’s dark and ugly pieces into a more palatable and poetic form.

On March 8, 1888 the New York Herald printed another of Whitman’s works titled, My Canary Bird. Publishing his works in the newspaper put Whitman’s perspective of America in the hands of the common man which is exactly where he would have wanted it. Beauty from Ashes, the American Story had a devotee in Walt Whitman. He had a way of making “The worst of times” into “The best of times”.

Discretion was the better part of valor…

January 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Wounds from the Civil War were still very fresh in the hearts & minds of the Southerners in the months after the Civil War, and perhaps sensitivities were no more acute than among the residents of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy up to the closing days of the war.

blog-11-14-2016-richmond-timesWith this in mind, a new newspaper was begun in the city of Richmond during the closing day of April, 1865, the same month the capital fell to the Yankees. The newspaper was announced in the April 20 issue of the “Richmond Whig”, the announcement headed: “A New Morning Paper – The Richmond Times” and the text including: “…The paper will be under the exclusive editorial charge & control of Mr. H. Rives Pollard, late of the Richmond Examiner, and the first number will appear on Friday…will be devoted to the honor and interest of Virginia…For the present at least–until Virginia shall have emerged from the existing chaos and confusion–the Times will studiously refrain from all editorial comment & will be devoted exclusively to the news of the day. It must be obvious to every reflecting mind that the present is no time for editorial comment or stricture, and that it would only serve to fan the flame of excitement…”.

It is nice to read that there was compassion among the victorious Yankees as the occupied Richmond. There were certainly options that could only have hurt the cause of reunion, but the publisher wisely opted to consider discretion as the better part of valor.

America – pulling a nation back together…

November 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

blog-11-14-2016-jfk-jr-photoMy Fellow Americans: Devastating hurricanes, Pearl Harbor, 9-11, the end of WWII, Lindbergh’s 1st flight across the Atlantic – while there is much that divides us, there have been times throughout our history when both triumphs and tragedies have inspired us to lay down our weapons and to unite as one. While these times of mutual good will are typically short-lived, they often act as a reset to help center us on that which binds us together. We need such a time!

It is was with the current atmosphere of angst as a backdrop that I was moved by an under-the-radar prayer found buried on page 11 of an issue reporting the assassination of President JFK. His death, airmailed via television directly into the living room of nearly every home in America, brought together Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike and unified us around shared grief.  May a day come when such unity of spirit flourishes without the inspiration of deep sorrow, tragedy, or war. As another assassinated President once said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand (Abraham Lincoln).” It is time for us to lay down our weapons. Much is at stake.blog-11-14-2016-prayer-jfk

Thanksgiving – only days away…

November 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As Thanksgiving (U.S.) rapidly approaches, we thought we’d bring everyone’s attention to various Thanksgiving-themed posts from the past. Please enjoy:

Civil War era reflections on Thanksgiving…

Reflecting on a Day of Thanksgiving & Prayer from 1776…

Thanksgiving Proclamations… a survey through American History…

The Traveler… Thanksgiving proclamation… schooling that maybe should be revisited…

Lincoln establishes a national Thanksgiving Day…

Thanksgiving… I time for expressing gratitude…

Before they became famous…or “infamous”…

September 19, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Oswald_DefectsA special desire for many collectors is to find a newspaper mentioning a name which would not become famous for many years, such as the “Lincoln & Herndon” attorney advertisements from Springfield, Illinois in 1857, or a newspaper ad noting John Wilkes Booth appearing in a play in 1863.

The item shown in the photo fits this category, appearing on the front page of the “Detroit Free Press” in its November 1, 1959 newspaper.  If a Kennedy assassination plot existed, the plans may have begun as early as…

Setting values for collectible newspapers…

September 19, 2008 by · 532 Comments 

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.