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Regionalism plays into popularity of vintage newspapers

In addition to the age, condition, and content (stories about celebrities of the day) of vintage newspapers, regional appeal is a factor in the value and appeal of vintage newspaper, explains Dr. Anthony Cavo, in the latest installment of Ask the Experts.

Q This is a book of original newspapers of the month of October 1935, The New York Sun bound together. My uncle purchased these years ago at a thrift shop or yard sale. It is very interesting. What can you tell me about it? Why was it made? Who made it? What is the value?

Thank you.
— S.S
via email


A Your newspaper is actually The Sun (1833-1950), a New York newspaper with the slogan, “It Shines for All.” (The New York Sun was a short-lived, politically conservative newspaper in New York published from 2002 to 2008.)

Prior to The Sun, newspapers only reported political news, war news, foreign news or reviews of books and the theater. The Sun was pioneering and quite innovative in that it was the first newspaper to report on social issues such as suicides, crimes, deaths and scandals such as divorce; this completely changed journalism. Until this point, stories came to the newspapers, after this point most reporters actively sought news stories. The editor, Benjamin Day, hired reporters to pursue stories for print. The Sun was successful and very profitable compared to other newspapers in that it relied on the fees from advertisers rather than subscription fees, and thus could be sold to the common man on the street rather than delivered to subscribers.

Prior to the age of the microfiche and the Internet, newspapers were saved and bound by newspaper publishers, universities and libraries for their archives and reference.

There are many factors in determining the value of a newspaper, with condition being one of the most important. Bound papers such as yours are usually in very good condition, having been protected by the binding and covers. The headline and desirability of the article is also important. Yours contains articles on Babe Ruth, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Hitler and the China Clipper: all very popular subjects.


Vintage newspapers tend to bring a premium in their home town or in the area significant to the news event. Newspapers that report on Babe Ruth bring more money when they are about a specific Babe Ruth event, at the time of the event. The story in your bound volume was printed after Ruth’s retirement and so would be less desirable than say a newspaper reporting his last game, or him punching an umpire or reporting on his 29th home run in the 1919 season.

As a collection, and in very good condition, your bound volume of The Sun would sell in the $70 to $80 range.

About our columnist:
Dr. Anthony J. Cavo is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute Of Antiques and a graduate of Reisch College of Auctioneering. He has extensive experience in the field of buying and selling antiques and collectibles; at age 18, he became one of the youngest purchasers and consigners of antiques and art for a New York auction house. Mr. Cavo is an active dealer in the antiques and collectibles marketplace in the U.S. and abroad.

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