Historic newspapers: the “crossover” collectible…

November 13, 2008 by · 4 Comments 

Stepping beyond the hobbyists who collect newspapers specifically, one collector which has become a mainstay of our business has been the person looking for a newspaper report relating to their own hobby. For example, antique car collectors have purchased Detroit newspapers featuring advertisements when a specific model they own was first introduced. Imagine owning a 1964 mustang and the thrill in finding a Detroit newspaper with an ad announcing the car–what a perfect companion piece for a car buff!

Coin collectors have often come to us with specific dates of when new coin designs were created, and it was not uncommon for detailed reports to be found in period newspapers. Whether it was the introduction of the Morgan silver dollar, the Barber nickel, dime, quarter or half dollar–or any of the 100’s of designs produced by the United States mint since 1792–collectors of those coins have cherished newspaper accounts of those new designs as a way of enriching their collection and enhancing the appeal of significant coins they cherish as collectors.

One example which comes to mind is the copper-nickel flying eagle penny introduced in 1857 (a small number of “pattern” coins exist from 1856), which was a dramatic departure from the much larger, all copper “large cents” of the previous decades. Its introduction was announced in the February 7, 1857 issue of Harper’s Weekly, actually a few weeks before the formal Act of  February 21, 1857 which authorized the coin’s creation. The report even includes images of both the obverse & reverse of the coin.

The report is very intriguing. Included is: “…Provided the act of Congress, which establishes the new cent, becomes a law, which it has not as yet, we think the public will be a gainer by the new coin. Its smaller size makes it much more convenient for handling…” and “…We will lose an American proverb, now widely circulated, by the issue of the new coin. ‘He’s not worth a red cent’ will be of such general application that it will not have any specific meaning & will be of course dropped, for the new cent is not red, being of a gray, silvery aspect.” with more.

The field is wide open for “crossover” collectibles. Virtually any collectible produced in the last 300 years may well have a newspaper account of its creation or development. The thrill of the search is in finding it!

Are you aware of newspaper reports which relate to other collectibles you have? Feel free to share.