We get a lot of calls from people that want to sell old newspapers. Most of the time we do not buy them. In the 20th century millions of newspapers were printed in the United States day after day every day. A lot people saved newspapers particularly for major events like Pearl Harbor, the Assassination of President Kennedy, Watergate, the Moon Landing and other major events. With very few exceptions major daily newspapers of this type are very hard to sell or don’t sell for enough to make the effort worthwhile. They are not rare. There is little or no market for them. They are generally available in profusion 24/7 at low prices on places like eBay. If you have newspapers of this type I would suggest just donating them and taking a tax benefit if you can.
We also get calls about random 20th century newspapers that people believe might be valuable just simply because they are 60 or 70 years old. This is almost never the case. We can not sell and do not want the stack of 1954 Akron Beacon newspapers found in Grandma’s attic after her untimely demise.
We also get a lot of calls about Titanic newspapers and the Oahu Star Bulletin newspaper reporting on the bombing of Pearl Harbor in particular. These are almost always common reprints. In the case of the Oahu Star Bulletin I have been contacted about this newspaper dozens of times and have not yet seen one that was not a reprint in 25+ years as an ephemera dealer. If you have the Oahu Star Bulletin reporting on the attack on Pearl Harbor please Google “Oahu Star Bulletin reprint” and read some of the blog posts that explain why no one wants the commonly found “souvenir edition” of this newspaper.
I also get a lot of calls from people that have newspapers in a plastic sleeve with a certificate of authenticity. The plastic sleeve and certificate of authenticity does not mean your newspaper is valuable or that is can even be sold at any price. Most of the time certificates of authenticity are really just a marketing ploy to give an enhanced perception of value.
In sum, if you have a random selection of old newspapers that grandma saved they are most likely not something that can be sold for much money if they can be sold at all. We don’t buy them or want them for free most of the time.
Newspapers from the 1700s and 1800s are more interesting to us and have much better potential for value but many of those are just simply very old newspapers which are difficult to sell. With newspapers we look for something unusual or special or some important element which isn’t the case with most major daily or city newspapers. Newspapers that would be more interesting to us could include things like newspapers for specific communities like African American newspapers, military newspapers, political newspapers or something other than garden variety major daily or city newspapers.
All this being said, there are newspapers that are valuable. To read more about interesting and valuable newspapers check out the story of the Chicago Daily Tribune’s “Dewey Defeats Truman” blunder, the November 20, 1863 issue of the New York Times which was one of the only newspapers to publish the text of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on the front page and is therefore highly coveted by serious collectors, the Civil War period Vicksburg Daily Citizen newspapers published on wallpaper or “necessity paper” as it was known, the 1906 San Francisco Call-Chronicle-Examiner that was issued in the immediate aftermath of that city’s devasting earthquake in which three bitter rivals cooperated to produce a combined special issue newspaper to get vital information to the public.