WW2 Era Newspapers Found In The Attic… Are They Worth Anything?

October 25, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Perhaps the most common inquiry we receive concerns newspapers from World War II found in parents’ attics. As generations pass it is incumbent upon their children to sort out what is of value and what is not.

The list which follows is a guide for determining what to keep and what to dispose.

In general, there are only about 15 events which are sufficiently notable to excite most collectors. Those event not included on the list are considered “generic” or “atmosphere” issues which, although reporting much on the war, are generally not significant enough to draw the attention of the serious collector.

It’s worth noting that graphic appeal tends to trump title. Example: the New York Times remains one of the more notable newspapers of the 20th century, but their headlines were typically conservative, lacking any drama, flash, or graphic appeal. Small town newspapers with dramatic graphic appeal will be more desired.

Issues which fit the events and criteria noted below could well have collector value. Feel free to send the exact title and date of each along with photos of the entire front pages (showing margins) to: info@rarenewspapers.com

Note: Perhaps the mostly commonly reprinted issue of the war is the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of Dec. 7, 1941. Most of the issues on the market are the common reprint, still sold at the souvenir stand at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Honolulu. See this blog post on how to tell a reprint from the genuine issue.

Top 15 events of World War II:

1) Germany invades Poland, 9/1/1939

* This event marked what many regard as the start of the war. Although not an American
event, most collectors want this report among their holdings.

2) Attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/7/1941

* Japan’s naval air force attacks military bases on Oahu, Hawaii, thus thrusting the United States into the war. The more dramatic and shocking the wording in a banner headline the better.

3) U.S. Declares war against Japan, 12/8/1941

* Just one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor the United States officially declares war against Japan, formalizing America’s entry in the war in the Pacific.

4) U.S. declares war against Germany & Italy, 12/11/1941

* The United States enters the war in Europe as well, just 3 days after declaring war against Japan.

5) Battle of Midway, 6/4-7/1942

* Just six months after Pearl Harbor the United States scores a major naval victory in the Pacific against Japan. Being a multi-day event, collectors would pursue the best headline near the end of the battle reporting the American victory.

6) D-Day, 6/6/1944

* With Axis forces controlling much of Western Europe, this day marks the offensive of the Allied forces in re-taking conquered countries. The word “Invasion” is desired somewhere within the headlines.

7) Battle of the Bulge, 12/16/1944

* This was the last major German offensive on the Western Front taking place from December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945. Issues near the end of the battle which reported an Allied victory would be more desired.

8) Photo of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, 2/23/1945

* If there was a single, iconic photo of American successes in the Pacific it would be this Pulitzer Prize-winning photo. Many newspapers included it in their editions of a day or two later, many did not. Better if the photo is on the front page, as many newspapers—when using it—did so on an inside page.

9) Death of FDR, 4/12/1945

* Although arguably not a true war event, the death of the President who was Commander-In- Chief of the military through almost the entirety of the war cannot be missed as a notable event.

10) Death of Hitler, 4/30/1945

* Hitler’s suicide deep inside a Berlin bunker essentially ended the war in Europe as just days later terms of surrender were agreed to by Nazi officials. Most newspapers reported his death on May 2, and a few published the Nazi propaganda report that the Fuehrer: “…has fallen in battle at the head of the heroic defenders of the Reich capital…”. The blunt words: “Hitler Dead” are more dramatic than “Death of Hitler”.

11) V-E Day, 5/7/1945

* The official end of the War in Europe. This was one event where newspapers often used patriotic embellishments to celebrate the victory, some multi-colored, some incorporating war photos within letters, etc.

12) Atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima, 8/6/1945

* With the war in the Pacific still raging, the first atomic bomb ever deployed was dropped over the city of Hiroshima. Some newspaper down-played the horrific affects of the bomb. More desired are headlines which more accurately reported the incredible devastation.

13) Atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki, 8/9/1945

* Just 3 days after Hiroshima, the second atomic bomb was dropped, which prompted the Japanese to pursue surrender terms. Again, bluntly accurate reporting in the headline is desired over a more subdued report.

14) V-J Day, 8/15/1945

* Terms for surrender were agreed upon, and the world announced the end of World War II. Much like V-E Day, newspapers typically became very creative in patriotically celebrating the end of the war. The more creative the front page the better.

15) Formal surrender of Japan, ending WWII, 9/2/1945

* Signing of the surrender terms happened on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Although most collectors would consider V-J Day as the end of the war, and in many respects it was, collectors often pursue this event as well.

There are also 2nd-tier items which could be collectible, but the extent of coverage and graphic appeal are paramount, and in some cases the title/publisher is essential. The list below contains such items, and will be updated from time-to-time.

Pre-War

Nuremberg Laws enacted, 9/15/1935

Jews no longer permitted to own property (various)

Opening of Concentration Camps (various)

Kristallnacht,  11/9-10/1938

During The War

Fake Report of attack on Los Angeles, “Battle of Los Angeles” (2/25/1942)

Bismarck Sunk, 5/27/2941

Star of David Badge, 9/7/1941

Doolittle Raid , 4/18-20/1942

USS Lexington Lost, 6/12/1942

Bataan Death March, 1/28/1944

JFK PT Boat, 6/11/1944

MacArthur returns to the Philippines, 10/20/1944

Post-War

USS Missouri – Peace Treaty Signed, 9/2/1945

Louis Zamperini Found, 9/9/1945

Patton’s Death, 12/21/1945

 

 

The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul … But not for Adolph Hitler

March 25, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes it is the little things that catch your eye and not the major content of a newspaper.  Two weeks ago, as I was photographing an issue for our most recent catalog, a tiny article at the bottom of the front page gave me pause and has been on my mind ever since. What began as a write up for an adorable vintage Disney ad turned dark.  The Eyes are the Window to the Soul … or so they say.  During the end of July, 1939, 3 English girls traveled to Germany to perform a tap dance for Adolf Hitler.  Upon their return, they reported how delightful he was and that they liked his eyes.  This reporting took place one month before Hitler invaded Poland beginning WWII and only one year before the Nazis took their fight to the 3 girl’s homeland.  Perhaps the eyes are the window to the soul however, the ability to read them is also necessary.  Reports such as these may not be the reason we purchase an issue but, they do give us an unprecedented window into a culture and are often the more valuable treasure.

Snapshot 1945… America at Iwo Jima – a melting pot forged in blood…

August 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, dated April 22, 1945, which shouts of America as the world’s melting pot in a thousand words… and perhaps a million drops of blood.

Snapshot 1914 – the first warship passes through the Panama Canal…

June 25, 2019 by · 2 Comments 

The following snapshot comes from the Boston Evening Transcript dated August 18, 1914, which announces the first-ever warship making its way through the Panama Canal. Quite historic.

 

They Put It In Print (1938)… Martin Niemöller…

May 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Martin Niemöller)

The Christian Science Monitor for March 4, 1938 reports Reverend Martin Niemöller has been sent off to a Nazi concentration camp.

 

 

Snapshot 1934… Adolf Hitler declares he will not go to war!

March 12, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the Chicago Daily Tribune dated August 6, 1934, which features Adolf Hitler’s Declaration that “War Means Ruin…Will Fight Only If Attacked.” At least he got the 1st part right.

 

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… the Hindenburg tragedy!

August 11, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the NEW YORK AMERICAN, May 7, 1937: “HINDENBURG EXPLODES AT LAKEHURST; 35 DEAD“:Blog-8-11-2016-Hindenburg

Don’t believe everything you read… Hitler rise to power unlikely!

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of my favorite quotes regarding the internet, but whose founding warning-principle is rooted in print media is:

“The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Blog-7-14-2016-HitlerYou simply cannot believe everything you read, hear, and in some cases, see. In most instances the misinformation is at least somewhat unintentional. However, sometimes even the well-intended get it wrong – including the so-called experts. Such is the case with a report in the August 16, 1932 edition of the New York Times. The heading in question reads: “Hitler Dictatorship In Reich Held Unlikely“. Just to be sure the heading would not be misinterpreted, a segment of the corresponding text states: “…the probability of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists gaining power in Germany was not strong…” Let’s just say Frederick J. E. Woodbridge, an esteemed professor of American History at the University of Berlin, was a bit off the mark.

 

The put it in print… Killing them with kindness?

July 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The August 15, 1945 “Evening Standard” newspaper from London, on the day they reported the surrender of Japan to end World War II, included an extract from a Reuter’s message quoting Admiral Halsey on the end of the war: “…Looks like the war is over. Cease firing, but if you see any enemy planes in the air shoot them down in a friendly fashion.”Blog-7-11-2016-The-Halsey-Touch

The Attack on Pearl Harbor… Great Headlines Speak For Themselves…

February 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN – 1st Extra! printed on December 7, 1941:Blog-12-14-2016-Pearl-Harbor-Attack

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