The “top ten”: 18th century…

December 14, 2009 by  
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

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:

George-Washington-death10) 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)

Constitution_PA_Packet4) 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).

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...


9 Responses to “The “top ten”: 18th century…”

  1. Paul Sarna on December 15th, 2009 10:19 am

    Good list…I’m surprised a 1789 Washington inauguration (in a New York newspaper) didn’t make it into your top ten.

  2. TimHughes on December 15th, 2009 10:26 am

    Paul – It was on my short list, just not my “shortest” list. There was a wealth of fascinating things which happened in the 1700’s, and I just couldn’t get it into the top ten. But it’s a good contender for #11.

  3. Charles Signer on December 18th, 2009 1:00 am

    I think that the death of George Washington is not that significant, since everybody who lived in the 18th century is dead. What was significant about George Washington is that he was the first head of state in history to retire. Before that, all heads of state either stayed until they died, were killed or otherwise deposed. King George III asked what Washington would do after the Revolutionary War and was told of rumors that he’d return to his farm; this prompted the king to state, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” I would replace number ten on your list with Washington’s Farewell Address or perhaps his earlier retirement from the military.

    This top ten discussion is interesting, but I hope it does not degenerate into a list that needs to be satisfied to have a good collection. This is what happened to coin and stamp collecting, where an empty space in an album creates a burning void and therefore a demand. With newspapers collectors should be interested in what they want naturally without being told what they need.

  4. GuyHeilenman on December 22nd, 2009 11:40 am

    Thanks for the response. Your selection is certainly valid. You also make an interesting point regarding the hobby. One of the more unique characteristics of the hobby is its ability to mesh with almost any area of interest. While there may be issues which have a track record of being highly sought after (as opposed to others), finding a sewing machine patent printed in an issue of Scientific American for a collector of sewing machines or discovering a small-town Civil War battle report from one’s hometown are likely to bring as great if not greater personal satisfaction to those who seek them as might be enjoyed by those seeking the “holy grails”. Good insight.

  5. Mark E. Mitchell on April 20th, 2010 4:58 pm

    For the 18th century, I also like The Boston Massacre (tough to find!), Siege of Yorktown, Bill of Rights amendments, and the Election of George Washington-our first president. These are truly major events in American history and are highly sought-after by advanced collectors of newspapers and manuscripts.

  6. Stephen Simcoates on February 4th, 2016 9:49 am

    I recently found some old newspapers/magazines called ‘Answers’ in a house we are developing in West Yorkshire, England. (they are dated 1907 & 1908)
    Do you know anything about them ? If so, I would be interested to know more, or would appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction to research them further.

    Thank you.

    Steve Simcoates

  7. GuyHeilenman on February 9th, 2016 7:02 am

    Hello Steve – British titles from the 20th century are not our area of expertise. Sorry.

  8. Steve on February 20th, 2018 8:24 pm

    I recently was able to purchase an August 1776 British printing of The Declaration of Independence (August 1776 edition of The Universal Magazine of Knowlege and Pleasure) and I’m still pinching myself I thought I’d never get to own a 1776 printing of it!

  9. GuyHeilenman on March 28th, 2018 8:11 am

    Hello Steve – Sorry, but we do not monitor such questions from here. Please send us information regarding what you have to us at Thanks for your understanding.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!