When it comes to the Civil War (one of the most popular targets within the collectible community), "top tens" can take on various forms: Top ten noteworthy Generals, top ten most impacting events, top ten naval battles, top ten events/causes for the war, etc. In this vein, shown below are various links focused on top ten battles. Which were the most important? Opinions certainly will vary... which is why no two collections are the same. As an added bonus, how about exploring the top ten "under the radar" battles which do not typically make a top ten list? We'd love to have input.
Since the birth of the United States, there may not be a single more formative event than The Battle of Gettysburg. Authentic newspapers containing first-hand accounts continue to be one of the most sought after within the collectible. Over the years several History's Newsstand posts have been written about these contemporary reports. A sample of a few are:
The following are the currently available original newspapers with reports related to the Battle of Gettysburg. Please enjoy a brief walk into the heart of "America in crisis" (arranged in chronological order): Battle of Gettysburg
Could there be a period in American history which fascinates and intrigues more than the Civil War? As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the battle between the North and the South, collecting interest in genuine newspapers which reported the news as it was happening, remains strong among the relatively small number of rare newspaper collectors. Any visit to a Civil War collector’s show will give evidence to the high prices of genuine memorabilia, from guns to uniforms to every bit and scrap of war-related material a collector might desire. But newspapers remain a very welcomed low-priced option, perhaps largely because they have yet to be discovered by majority of Civil War collectors.
But that has always been the case with this hobby, regardless of the time period. Rare newspaper have always remained relatively unknown in the world of historical collectables—a reality which continues to amaze—but its consequence has provided one of the benefits of those who enjoy the hobby: low prices. Across the entire spectrum of collectables, be they coins, stamps, furniture, books, autographs, toys—you name it--items of comparable age to newspapers are much higher than newspapers.
And what a world is available to the Civil War collector who discovers rare newspapers. You name the battle or political event that happened from 1861 to 1865 and it will be found in a newspaper of the day. And this hobby allows a collection to showcase not just the events of the war but the lead-up to the conflict between the states, as the issue of slavery and the troubling relationship between the Northern and Southern states making news for more than a decade before the outbreak of war.
From the Battle of Fort Sumter to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, a collector can create a notable collection of newspapers as large or small as their budget will allow. Some might focus on the top ten most significant battles of the Civil War (see previous post) and include newspapers with accounts of Fort Sumter, First and Second Bull Run (Manassas), Hampton Roads (the Monitor vs. the Merrimac), Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing), capture of New Orleans, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, fall of Atlanta, Savannah and Richmond as well as the surrender of General Lee to U.S. Grant. Wikipedia offers an excellent and very inclusive list of all the battles of the Civil War which can be used as a checklist for the collector seeking the most notable events of the war.
Typically daily newspapers have war reports on the front page with additional news on inside pages as well, and a select few included graphics. The “New York Times”, “New York Tribune” “New York Herald” and the “Philadelphia Inquirer” are—in my opinion—the “big 4” titles of the war, as they more than most printed Civil War maps and other war-related graphics on their front pages. Such issues remain favorites for framing and display.
Not to be overlooked are the political events and speeches which were perhaps more significant than the battles, including the election and inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. All events appeared in newspapers within a day of their happening.
Yet another area of focus for various collectors is the gathering of contemporary reports surrounding certain historic figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, “Stonewall” Jackson, George Meade, James Longstreet, William Sherman, Jefferson Davis, Ambrose Burnside, Nathan B. Forrest, Colonel Robert Shaw, John Hunt Morgan (and his raiders), to name a few. Textbooks simply cannot capture the essence of these noteworthy individuals in the same way newspapers can.
Some collectors might focus on the Civil War from the Confederate perspective as newspapers from the Southern state are available, albeit more rare, and offer an interesting perspective on the events of the war. Issues from Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, offer some of the best coverage of the war as all news eventually found its way to Richmond. And the editorials offer fascinating reading in the “Daily Richmond Examiner” or the “Daily Dispatch”. Charlestonnewspapers also offer great coverage, after all the war began in its harbor. The “Charleston Daily Courier” was one of the best, and one of but a few Southern newspapers which printed in the masthead “Confederate States of America”. Venturing beyond the more “common” of the Confederate titles, newspapers from other states are available, a few of the more accessible being the “Daily Progress” (from Raleigh) and the “Louisville Daily Courier” from Kentucky. The “Daily Memphis Appeal” is an intriguing title, as during its Civil War history it was chased by the Yankees out of Memphis and published in 8 other Confederatecities before succumbing in the final weeks of the Civil War.
A “Confederate” newspaper from the North might seem like a oxymoron, but “The Crisis” from Columbus, Ohio, was an intriguing newspaper by a copperhead publisher who was very much opposed to the Lincoln administration and strongly supported the Confederate effort believing that slavery could not be prohibited by law.
One cannot mention newspapers of the Civil War without discussing “Harper’s Weekly”, the illustrated newspaper which put all the action, drama and cruelty of war into the homes of every American. For the first time, citizens were able to see what their leaders looked like, as an abundance of portraits of the Civil War officers appeared throughout the war years, not to mention the great wealth of battle scenes and city views not found elsewhere during the Civil War. Not to be outdone by the Yankees, the Confederates created their own version of “Harper’s Weekly”, titled the “Southern Illustrated News” published in Richmond, but it was a poor imitation at best. It’s lack of success resulted in a considerably smaller circulation and obviously more rare title for collectors today.
Whatever your interest in the Civil War, collectible newspapers have much to offer. With prices relatively low for 150 year old items and containing virtually every event which happened during that fascinating era, a notable collection can be amassed which can be enjoyed and admired without breaking the bank. A fascinating world awaits those who discover this interesting collectible.
There are an infinite number of ways to approach collecting rare newspapers. The History's Newsstand Blog is pregnant with suggestions. Over the course of the next several months we will VENTOLIN OVER THE COUNTER, begin to explore the topic in earnest. For those who are new to the hobby, and are anxious to explore what has been written to-date, the following links are to help bring you up to speed:
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Over the past month, Timothy Hughes has explored his thoughts concerning what he believes to be the top ten newspapers from each of the pre-18th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries (see below), the most recent being the latter. Some of his thoughts concerning historic newspapers from the 1900's were captured in the following video:
Collecting authentic rare and historic newspapers from the 1900's can be exciting, rewarding and surprisingly affordable. From the Wright brothers inaugural flight in 1903...to today's routine shuttle hops to the orbiting space station, no other period in history bore greater witness to man's capacity for brilliance, innovation, depravity, strife, compassion and technological ingenuity...than the 20th Century. And with this ingenuity came remarkable visibility into the daily lives of our parents and grandparents, through newspapers.
Each single page from the vast 20th Century archive of Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers brings this amazing century to life: from World War I, Prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II, onward... newspapers of the 20th century bring it all to daily account, from those who lived it!
Of course, many original newspapers documenting this century's "turning-points" command premium prices (Titanic, Crash of 29, P. Harbor, V-E/V-J Day, Dewey Def Truman, Oil Strike, San Franc Earthquake, etc.)... but most other original and historical 20th century newspapers remain available for much less than you might think. At Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers, you can still own original editions recounting key events of the gangster era of the 20's and 30's, World War II, the industrial revolution, Korean War, the automobile, the golden age of Hollywood and beyond.
We also offer obscure original editions that are perfect gifts to commemorate a friend or loved-one's birthday, marriage, graduation, or other event. They'll love reading about what else was in the news back on their special day!
Whether your interest is in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the golden age of Hollywood, the gangster era, a view of how life looked on the day you were born, etc., original newspapers provide an excellent view of history in context. History is never more fascinating than when when it's read from the day it was first reported. If you love history... you deserve to have it in your hands. Rare newspapers make this possible. Please enjoy.
From this period in newspaper publishing history, displayability has much to do with the desirability of a newspaper, perhaps more so than historical significance. Since I come to this task of listing the "top ten" from the perspective of a rare newspaper dealer and knowing the requests we receive for certain events, the following list may not be the same as my most "historic" but they are my thoughts for the most "desirable" based on customer demand. Certainly FDR's New Deal is more historically significant than the death of Bonnie & Clyde, but not more desirable from a collector standpoint. I'd be curious to hear of your thoughts.
Here they are, beginning with number ten:
10) St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Feb. 14, 1929 An issue with a dramatic banner headline, & ideally dated the 14th. Morning papers would be dated the 15th.
9) Death of Bonnie & Clyde, May 23, 1934 The gangster era remains much in demand, & perhaps due to the movie this event beats out Dillinger, Capone & the others from the era. A dramatic headline drives desirability--ideally with a photo--even if not in a Louisiana newspaper.
8.) Charles Lindbergh flies the Atlantic, May 22, 1927 The New York Times had a nice headline account with a map of the route, and the prestige of the newspaper always keeps it in high demand.
7) Call-Chronicle-Examiner, San Francisco, April 19, 1906 I note a specific title & date for this event, as these 3 newspapers combined to produce one 4 page newspaper filled with banner heads & the latest news. No advertisements.
6) Crash of the Hindenberg, May 6, 1937 The more dramatic the headline the better, & ideally with the Pulitizer Prize winning photo of the airship in flames.
5) Wright brothers fly, Dec. 17, 1903 Here's where the significance of the event drives desirability over dramatic appeal. Few can argue the impact of manned flight on the world. Reports were typically brief & buried on an inside page with a small headline, so a lengthy front page report would be in top demand.
4) Stock market crash, October, 1929 Demand is driven by the dramatic headline and its wording. Too many newspapers tried to put an optimistic spin on the tragedy. Collectors want "collapse, disaster, crash" & similarly tragic words in the headline (how about Variety magazine's: "Wall Street Lays On Egg"?)
3) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Dec. 7, 1941 "1st Extra" The defining issue from World War II but be careful of reprints as most issues on the market are not genuine.
2) Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov. 3, 1948 "Dewey Defeats Truman". What more need be said?
1) Titanic sinking, April 14, 1912 Certainly low on the historically significant list, but off the charts on the desirability scale, much due to the block-busting movie. The more dramatic the headline the better, and hopefully with a nice illustration of the ship going down.
My "honorable mention" list might include baseball's "Black Sox" scandal of 1919, sinking of the Lusitania, end of World War II, D-Day, JFK's election, the New Deal, a great Babe Ruth issue, etc. Maybe they would rank higher on your list.
Over the past three weeks Timothy Hughes has explored his thoughts concerning what he believes to be the top ten newspapers from each of the pre-18th, 18th, and 19 centuries (see below), the most recent being the latter. Some of his thoughts concerning the 1800's historic newspapers were captured in the following video:
Collecting authentic rare and historic newspapers from the 1800's can be exciting, rewarding and surprisingly affordable. Daily newspaper reports of America's tumultuous 19th Century included first hand accounts of historic turning-points like..... the Louisiana Purchase...the Civil War...and Spanish-American conflict. As cries of "manifest destiny" signaled America's unbridled expansion west, newspapers became a crucial link for a people suddenly united in a common quest that would set their young nation on a course of unprecedented and historic prosperity.
There are many sought after "holy grails" from the 19th century, including: o President Abraham Lincoln's Assassination o Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address o Battle of the Alamo o Deaths of Jessie James and Billy the Kid o Issue from Tombstone Arizona (Tombstone Epitaph) o Winslow Homer's "Snap the Whip"
Of course, select accounts of the most historic & desired events of 19th century America are available for premium prices.
However, a wealth of fascinating original newspapers from the vast inventory of Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers are available for much less...often as little as $30 - $50. These include first-hand news from the War of 1812, Yankee & Confederate Civil War battle reports, slave ads from the South, the California Gold Rush with outlaw & Indian battle accounts, the Mormon migration to Utah and fascinating reports of when baseball was in its infancy.
The "Old West" and America's westward expansion are represented in genuine newspapers from California, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Arizona. You'll also find affordable issues from the illustrated press which graphically documented every aspect of 19th century America in the pages of Harper's Weekly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated, Gleason's, Ballou's, and The London Illustrated News.
Whether your interest is in the War of 1812, westward expansion and the gold rush, the Civil War, and/or the Wild West, original newspapers provide an excellent view of history in context. History is never more fascinating than when when it's read from the day it was first reported. If you love history... you deserve to have it in your hands. Rare newspapers make this possible. Please enjoy the hobby.
This was a difficult century for selecting the top ten significant events or newspapers. Certainly an argument could be made that some specific newspapers--particularly from the Civil War era--could achieve retail values far in excess of those noted on the list, but their rarity as unique items pretty much removes them from the "accessible" list of collectibles.
My focus is more on including newspapers which have a certain degree to attainability and at the same time representing the broad range of events which helped to define the United States during the 19th century. I think I've achieved a happy compromise among desirability, rarity, and historical significance. Fully half of my choices are specific issues. I would be curious to hear of your comments:
10) Vicksburg Daily Citizen, July 2/4, 1863 This wallpaper edition from when the town was captured by the Yankees turns up very frequently as a reprint, adding enhanced appeal to a genuine issue.
9) Battle of the Alamo, 1836 In a Texas newspaper. Any Texas newspaper from this notable year in the war for Texas independence would be great, and one with one of the more famous battles of the century would be better yet.
8.) Leslie's Illustrated, April 22, 1882 The full front page is a terrific print of Jesse James, recently murdered. A very rare print of one of the more infamous characters of the century.
7) Lincoln's assassination, 1865 Arguably the most noted death of the century, and great to have in a Washington, D.C. title. Very historic & desirable, but not terribly difficult to find so it doesn't rank higher on my list.
6) Tombstone Epitaph, gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 1881 I know of at least one genuine issue. Certainly a very romanticized event in a equally romanticized title and incredibly rare but not high on my historic list.
5) Baltimore Patriot, Sept. 20, 1814 First newspaper appearance of the Star Spangled Banner, and great to have in a Baltimore newspaper.
4) Gettysburg Address, November, 1863 This remains the most requested speech by our collectors--regardless of century--and is likely the most known by school children across the country. A front page account is best, such as the New York Times.
3) Louisiana Purchase, 1803 Who could argue with an event which doubled the size of the country.
2) Charleston Mercury--Extra, Dec. 20, 1860 It's a broadside so perhaps some will argue not a bona fide newspaper, but we collect Extras as well so I include this notable issue. This newspaper’s “The Union is Dissolved” broadside was the first Confederate publication as South Carolina was the first state to secede. It went to press 15 minutes after the secession ordinance was passed.
1) The California Gold Rush in a California newspaper, 1849. Three California newspapers existed at the time so issues do exist yet extremely rare. Combining the great rarity with a event which did so much to spawn migration of the people across the country, and another very romanticized event in American history, and you get my top pick.
Over the past two weeks Timothy Hughes has explored his thoughts on what he believes to be the top ten pre-18th century and the top ten 18th century newspapers (see below). Some of these thoughts were captured in the following video:
Collecting authentic rare and historic newspapers from the 1500's - 1700's can be exciting, rewarding and surprisingly affordable. British titles such as the London Gazette, London Chronicle, Gentleman's Magazine and more, are all available for much less than you would expect, as are their American counterparts, the Columbian Centinel, Dunlap's Daily American Advertiser, Concord Herald, and more.
Whether your interest is in the Colonial Era or the Revolutionary War Era, or extends to the 1500's and/or 1600's, original newspapers provide an excellent view of history in context. History is never more fascinating than when when it's read from the day it was first reported. If you love history... you deserve to have it in your hands. Rare and early historic newspapers make this possible. Please enjoy the hobby!
Continuing with our "top ten events to be found in newspapers" for various periods of time, today we consider the 18th century.
What an event-filled one hundred years it was. As you can tell by the list my focal point is on the American Revolution, but there are other events or specific newspapers which made it into my top ten.
Again I offer apologies to our non-American friends as this list has a decidedly American bias, primarily because the vast majority of those who purchase from us are American.
Here we go, starting with number ten:
10) Death of George Washington, 1799 (Front page, preferably in a Virginia Gazette)
9) Hanging of Captain Kidd, 1701 (Just can't resist a great pirate hanging, he being perhaps the most famous of all time)
8.) Any newspaper with the first installment of Paine's "The Crisis" ("These are the times that try men's souls..." has to be one of the more famous beginnings of all time)
7) Full text of the Stamp Act (Certainly a trigger event that would lead to the Revolution)
6) Boston Tea Party (In a Boston newspaper. An event every school kid knows about)
5) The Pennsylvania Journal, Nov. 1, 1765 "skull & crossbones" engraving (Replaced its normal masthead on this date: seen in most history books)
4) Battle of Lexington & Concord with mention of Paul Revere's ride (The beginning of the Revolutionary War. I had one once with mention of Revere--exceedingly rare--great to have in a Boston area newspaper)
3) The Boston News-Letter, 1704 (Great to have issue #1 of America's first successful newspaper, but any issue from 1704 would do)
2) The Pennsylvania Packet, Sept. 19, 1787 (First newspaper to print the Constitution, & done in broadside format. Need I say more?)
1) The Declaration of Independence, 1776 (Ideally the Pennsylvania Evening Post, July 6, 1776, but the Packet of July 8 would work too as it contains the Declaration entirely on the front page: better for display).