“Electioneering”… Little has changed…

October 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The piece shown is from the front page of “The Massachusetts Centinel” of Boston, March 31, 1787. Although written over 222 years ago it doesn’t seem as though much has changed with “electioneering” (see below).


Collector shares a nice find…

October 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s always a thrill to find truly significant reports for very little money; proof that doing a bit of homework can be well rewarded.

A fellow collector (to whom who owe a special thanks for sharing his “find”) shares the uncommonly lengthy letter from Merriwether Lewis while on the Lewis & Clark Expedition, datelined at Fort Mandan, April 7, 1805. It appears on two inside pages of “The Balance & Columbian Repository” issue of  August 13, 1805. Typically reports on Lewis & Clark are very brief. This is is not.

He shares this interesting letter for all who can appreciate reading history from the time it was made.  Being a letter written directly Thomas Jefferson, how significant might this be?  Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Please enjoy the following:



Lincoln’s assassination in a Washington, D.C., newspaper…

October 26, 2009 by · 7 Comments 

Daily-Morning-Chronicle-LinOne of the (positive) frustrations we have always dealt with as a rare newspaper dealer is not being able to share some of the best material which comes our way. Not surprisingly very rare and very historic items have a waiting list of customers waiting for it to come into inventory and such newspapers are typically sold before they have the opportunity to be listed in a catalog. But here is where our blog is of value, allowing us an opportunity to share some nice material even though no longer available for purchase.

Holding true to the belief that newspapers from cities where historic events took place are the best to have, our recent sale of the “Daily Morning Chronicle” of April 15, 1865 from Washington, D.C. fits this description very well.  Although purchased by a member with a *“want list” for such material, the issue is too fascinating not to share with others, hence this link to the listing and photos.

Enjoy one of the best newspapers to have on Lincoln’s assassination.

* Note:  Although we manage a want list for key material, with thousands of such wants, the system is not perfect (i.e., we occasionally miss an item on someone’s want list and it ends up being purchased through a member or public offering).  We simply promise to do the best we can.  If you have key content of interest, feel free to be in touch.

A way to get rich??

October 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Get_RichThe “Mother Lode Magnet” newspaper from the mining town of Jamestown in Northern California offers yet another interesting piece…  this one on “One Way To Get Rich”.  Much food for thought:

Terrific “association” item in American history…

October 22, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

One of the joys in collecting early newspapers is discovering the little gem found buried in an issue which was innocuous at the time but which has since transcended to much greater importance in American history. The small advertisement shown, which appears on page 3 of the April 13 issue of the “Daily Morning Chronicle” of Washington, D.C., is one.

Ford_Theater_AdCertainly Abraham Lincoln, and any other Washington, D.C. resident who read this ad, would not have given it a second thought, being a simple notice of the latest show on the stage of a local theater. But as history would tell us Abraham Lincoln attended this very performance of  “The American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre, starring Laura Keene, and would be assassinated there the evening of the 14th.

It’s fascinating to think the original owner of this newspaper may well have read that advertisement, and may actually have attended that performance only to become witness to one of the more dramatic & notable events of American history. This newspaper is truly a piece of Americana which could only be found in a Washington, D.C. newspaper. Certainly this ad would not have appeared in the other–more common–major city publications.

Feel free to respond and share with other readers any similar gems which you have discovered, & which would figure more prominently in history after their publication date. We hope you enjoyed this one!

The first newspaper in Alabama…

October 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Tim_2008Credit must be given to John Oswald’s “Printing In The Americas” for the following on first newspaper printed in Alabama:

“Samuel Miller and John B. Hood started the ‘Centinel” at Mobile, Alabama, on May 23, 1811, but there is some doubt as to whether it was actually printed there. It was a troublous time for the town. The district in which it was located was claimed by Spain as a part of Florida, which she owned, and it was not until 1812 that the Congress of the United States annexed the Mobile district to what was then called the Mississippi Territory. The following year Gen. James Wilkinson occupied it with a military force, which was not resisted by the Spaniards. It is probable that the printing of the “Centinel” was done at Fort Stoddert, further up the river in American territory. In 1817 the territory was divided, the eastern portion being named Alabama, after a tribe of Creek Indians which inhabited the district, with St. Stephens as its capital. The territory became a state in 1819.”

Even then they wondered, “what’s next?”…

October 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

What_NextThe “Mother Lode Magnet” newspaper from the small mining town of Jamestown in Northern California had an interesting item in its September 14, 1898 issue. One wouldn’t be surprised if it appeared in a newspaper today:

Related collectibles… carrier & newsie memorabilia…

October 8, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

The world of rare newspaper collecting need not be limited to just newspapers. I’ve ventured into peripheral collectibles which I find interesting, and I’m wondering if any of you have as well.

Wagon_Carrier_Bag_CollectibleI’ve picked up several “paper bags” as we used to call them, and which are rarely seen today. They are the cloth “slings” newspaper carriers wore over the shoulder in which newspapers we held when being delivered (does anyone remember them?).

I’ve also purchased two of the newspaper wagons used in the earlier part of the 20th century in which carriers pulled the day’s edition as he made his deliver rounds. They make decorative pieces today and look much like other early children’s wagons but often had higher side rails. And they were distinguished by the newspaper name & logo painted on the sides.

I’ve also collecting little nick-knack figurines which include a newspaper in some way, and my, have I been amazed how many exist! There is at least one Hummel piece, a few Precious Moments, and a number of more “generic” brand figurines which feature a newspaper in a variety of ways. And those who collect Christmas pieces will encounter numerous miniature print shops and newsstands if they browse in any mall gift or specialty shop.  I’ve also found a few framed prints which show someone reading a newspaper, or perhaps a newspaper print shop, a news carrier, etc.

What related newspaper collectibles do you pursue? Feel free to respond and share with others.

Some more prices, then and now…

October 6, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Some months ago I reflected upon the value of newspapers we have sold years ago compared to more current values for the same title and event. Having published catalogs since 1977 it is interesting to pull out some of the early editions and see what we sold newspapers for many years ago.

Although we are careful to never recommend early or historic newspapers as investments, many have done well over the years. Not surprisingly, those which are most historic and less common have appreciated the best, while others—particularly titles which tend to come available from time to time—have appreciated but not at an exceptional pace. A few examples:

Within our catalogs created in 1980, twenty-nine years ago, are several entries which we still are able to keep in inventory such as “Harper’s Weekly” of July 22, 1876 with coverage of the Custer massacre. We sold it then for $32, and offer it today for $112. Using an inflation calculator the $32 would have inflated to $82.57 today. Also in “Harper’s Weekly” we sold Oct. 4, 1862 with a printing of the Emancipation Proclamation for $52 ($134.28 in today’s dollars), while today we sell it for $125. The same title for March 22, 1862 on the Monitor vs. the Merrimack sold then for $38 ($98.05 in today’s dollars) and for $113 today.

New_York_Tribune_Fall_of_RichmondAlthough “Harper’s Weekly” remains a very desirable title and has most certainly become more scarce as the years have gone by, I would not consider it a rare title. Consequently some prices have exceeded inflation while some have not.

But somewhat less common titles, and more significant events, have had more interesting price changes. In 1980 we sold the “New York Tribune” of April 4, 1865 which reported the fall of Richmond and had a huge eagle engraving on the front page, for $48 ($123.85 in today’s dollars). Not long ago we sold the same issue for $477. And in 1980 we sold the “Gazette of the United States” of March 2, 1791 on the creation of the Bank of the United States, for $19 ($49.03 in today’s dollars) and a more recent sale was for $775.

Of courses naivete (or perhaps stupidity) was the reason for many low prices years ago. Back in the “early years”  I simply didn’t have the experience of knowing how desirable some events would be for collectors. If I bought an item for $20 and sold it for $30 I was happy.

Pricing has become much more sophisticated the last ten years or so, but I’m sure we still offer some interesting gems of history at relatively low prices which will take on much greater desirability as the years progress. Part of the fun of the hobby is seeking them out.

Could have been worded better…

October 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The following appeared in “The Daily Courant” newspaper from London, January 2, 1705:

“This day is publish’d, Her Majesty’s Head finely Engrav’d upon a Copper Plate fifteen Inches square, and Adorn’d after the manner of Penmanship. Price 6d. Sold by J.Nutt near Stationers-Hall. “

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