Selling old newspapers – Are you sat on a fortune?

Keen newspaper readers, such as myself, will be able to relate when I say that I have a stack of newspapers at the corner of my bedroom that’s been sitting there for YEARS!

It gets moved from one corner to another every time the wife decides to give me a grilling about how untidy they look – I disagree!

I mean sure, these newspapers will be worth a pretty penny in the future, right?

Many are quite unsure sure if they’re worth anything at all, or sitting on stacks of cash.

When a major event happens that people will usually keep the newspaper from that date in the hopes of cashing in many years later. I’m going to explain to you why some of those papers are worth a little bit of money and why some newspapers aren’t.

I reached out to an auction representative that described everything we need to look out for. The person I reached out to is in America so the news is U.S based and the valuations are in dollars, but hopefully, you find this helpful in one way or another.

When we look at old Newspapers there are typically 3 main categories:

1. Atmospheric Newspapers

When we look at an atmospheric paper, it’s a newspaper that is just really old. Nothing important happened, there was no event, no catastrophe, no market crashes or anything. It’s just a newspaper. They’re kind of cool to have but there are no major events so really there’s nothing in other than just the coolness the age factor.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if they are 200, 300 or even 400 years old. The fact that no major event happened on that date means the maximum you may be able to get is $5 for it, assuming it’s in good condition.

Some will be framed and date back to the 16th hundreds such as the London Gazette and still, we’re only looking at a newspaper that’s worth like $30.

An 1802 paper from the Philadelphia Gazette and the piece is probably worth around $20 and that’s because it has little logo’s in there.

2. Major event Newspapers

Major event newspapers are the ones like the moon landing or when World War II broke out. Those are worth a little bit more because they have more interest. When we look at those, a lot of times these don’t have a lot of value until you get back to at least World War II.

Everybody who’s holding onto the Nixon paper, when Nixon resigned, for example, some don’t have much value. If they’re lucky $5.

There’s an exception to the above whereby you have the newspaper in a city that currently don’t have it. The scarcity makes it more desirable and they might be worth anywhere between $10 – $30.

The $200 – $300 papers are usually those that include big news like the civil war newspaper with graphics on them.

Locally published major events Newspapers

These papers were published in the city that the event happened in, and that makes a big difference.

The Dallas newspaper the day before Kennedy got shot is not a paper that anyone is interested in so it’s not worth anything

But when we look at the Dallas Morning Newspaper of the day he got shot – this one is worth something because it’s the major headline and because it’s in the city that had happened – that makes it worth more.

 If this was a local city newspaper might be worth $5 but the fact this it’s the Dallas newspaper means it actually could be worth $100. Prices fluctuate just like they do in any other market, but there is money to be made.

Partial papers

When you only have part of a newspaper, it makes it worth hardly anything. So newspapers have to be complete, not cut out otherwise it’s not worth anything. Articles that have been torn and cut out are also totally worthless.

So if you have a gigantic stack in the family for years and years it won’t be worth anything unless they are complete newspapers and ideally, in good condition.  

The real deal

The Honolulu Star when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour is a very expansive newspaper and currently sells for several hundred dollars, assuming it’s real.

There are lots of the Titanic sinking papers, bombings, assassinations etc. but they are reprints and unfortunately, these reprints are pointless. Whenever there is money in the market, you can be sure that companies will come along in an attempt to copy the idea. But in the trade of selling old newspapers, they must be originals. The reprints will not sell for anything.

The waiting game

For you to be able to profit from it now, other than flipping, you’ll be waiting 60 to 100 years unless there has been any passed down o you.

It’s possible that that newspaper you are worth a lot of money but unfortunately, it’s going to be 60 to 100 years from now before you can get to it. Anybody holding onto a stack should know that you’re not going to get any benefit from it unless they’re holding on to it for future generations.

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