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

 

 

They Put It In Print… How to hate – 1941…

September 22, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

As we were searching through our issues from 1941 looking for new WWII content, to our great dismay we discovered a article on page 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle dated November 15th headed:  “Goebbels Tells Germans How To Hate Jews”, which was followed by his ten “reasons” to hate them. There are some who wish to ignore and/or deny the existence of the hatred which ran rampant during this time in world history, but thanks to the S.F. Chronicle, they put it in print:

 

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.

 

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

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

Movie Prop Newspaper… Can you identify the movie (round 1)?

June 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Movie prop newspapers are exactly that – newspapers which have been created for the purpose of being used within a specific movie. In some instances they are created using an authentic (actual) newspaper from the period in question, and splice-in content that meets the movie’s needs. In other instances a newspaper if created from scratch. Both are collectible and are typically hard to come by since only a handful were originally printed. We’ve had the privilege of having a few to offer over the years, but a new set of movie-prop issues has us (Rare & Early Newspapers) perplexed. We simply do not know from which movies they came. How do we know they are actually movie-prop issues?

  1. The actual titles do not exist.
  2. The paper upon which they are printed does not quite match the era from which they supposedly came.
  3. They were included as part of the Richard Robinson Collection (see http://blog.rarenewspapers.com/?p=7359), which included several properly identified movie prop issues.

So now the fun begins. Can anyone definitively state the movie from which the movie prop newspaper shown below (The Record Herald) came from? Blog-6-23-2016-movie-prop-630907Note: Since this post was initially published, we’ve posted several additional movie prop issues. These posts may be viewed at: Unidentified Movie Prop Newspapers

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

They put it in print… Nazi generals attempt an escape to Japan…

July 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

World War II created a countless number of stories of heroism, sorrow, courage, and intrigue, many of which will never be known save for just  a few.

Blog-7-27-2015-Nazi-GeneralsThe “The Detroit Free Press” of May 17, 1945 reported one such event which would surprise many historians today. Its headline notes: “Seize U-Boat Taking Key Nazis To Japan” with a subhead: “Luftwaffe Chiefs Captured at Sea“. This was just 10 days after the surrender of Germany, and less than 3 months before Japan would surrender to end World War II.  The related article mentions in part: “A 1,600 ton Nazi U-boat, presumably attempting to escape to Japan, surrendered to destroyer-escorts of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet…Aboard were 3 major general of the Luftwaffe and two dead Japanese, who had committed hara-kiri…”.

To this day few know of the attempt of Nazi generals to seek refuge in Japan, yet it was a front page headline in Detroit at the time.

Ironically, the photo shown is actually of the capture/surrender of the infamous U-505, an event which had occurred in June of 1944, but was not announced/released until the previous day.

A movie in the making?

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