19th century and earlier newspapers
Back in the good old days when I started collecting, my focus for the most part was on materials pertaining to specific subjects. If I discovered an item that fit the criteria of my subject matter then it would be scooped up and added to the collection. As a result my collections contained a multitude of rare and fine books, photos, manuscripts, prints and newspapers. It had never been my intention to collect newspapers as they were just not on my collection ‘radar’ . There always seemed to be too many books to look at and choose from that newspapers just didn’t attract my attention. The fact is however, I was collecting newspapers or magazines but did not see them as such but rather elements of my growing collection.
One of the very first collections on which I was focused was Lord Nelson, and of course Lady Hamilton. One of the items I purchased was The Edinburgh Review Magazine 1886, July & Oct. No. CCCXXXVI Vol. CLXIV which contained a 33 page article titled “Letters and Dispatches of Horatio Viscount Nelson”. The article was a summary of a newly published collection of Admiral Nelson’s letters which was in a magazine in book format.
Later I purchased on Ebay what I knew or thought I knew, was an 1805 Newspaper titled “The Times Newspaper from Thur. November 7 1805” This was of great interest because the item was described as being the first published news of the Death of Nelson. Got to have that! Good news and bad news. Good news is I got it for a reasonable winning bid and thought what a great item to add to my collection. The bad news was when the newspaper arrived a great big red flag went up. The paper felt much too thick for that of an 1805 newspaper. After much research I determined this was a reprint which in itself turns out to to rare but not of much value. I kept it anyway and today describe it… REPRINT (an official exact reprint) which was printed for the British Empire exhibition of 1924, on thin light cream card.
Over the years I have found newspapers to be highly collectable and desirable in certain areas. In 2010, with the knowledge that in two years time their would be a great deal of interest and excitement surrounding the 200th anniversary of the North American War. I began looking for and acquiring newspapers that were printed around the time of this historic period. The idea of having a newspaper printed just a short time (week or two) post battle with accounts of what had actually transpired along with letters published by military or citizens became a challenging and enjoyable effort.
I visited a local Museum in order to learn of their collecting interests and was told “we have been “collecting” for more than a hundred years and have most of the local historically relevant material” that is available. I take great pride in my ability to find elusive items, so rather than give in to disappointment I chose to seek out and prove my talent for discovery. A few months later I was delighted to be able to call this same person at the local museum in order to ask, “How would you like to own a copy of a newspaper printed two weeks after the Battle of Queenston Heights?” He did and also purchased additional other newspapers.
Newspapers offer collectors, like no other format, an opportunity to be able to go back in time. When reading the reports of the War of 1812, I have to stop think of how readers at the time might have felt reading these same reports. This was the only means of learning what was happening to their country, their loved ones and ultimately their lives. Unlike these folks, when I was reading these reports, I knew already how this war would end and the impact it would have on the world.
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