Have I got news for you... Newspapers from the birth of America are for sale

Newspapers, as we pointed out on our blog, tend not to be very valuable collectibles - or at least not as valuable as people expect.

The most valuable newspaper sold at auction was a Romanian newspaper, Zimbrulu and Vulturulu (The Aurochs and the Eagle) from 1858, owned by Joseph Hackmey. But that was because of the stamps used to deliver it.

Newspapers might add value to lots such as medal lots and be worth something in well-kept collections, but nothing that would impress. However, Maine auctioneer James D Julia is offering something a bit special this week.

This is volume four (1772-1776) of The Harbottle Dorr Collection of annotated Massachusetts newspapers.

Starting on January 7, 1765 in the middle of the Stamp Act controversy, Boston shopkeeper, Harbottle Dorr took the current issue of the Boston Evening Post and commented on its contents in the margins.

Every week thereafter, for 12 years, he accumulated the papers totaling an astonishing 3,280 pages in four volumes. James D Julia is selling volume IV of a four volume set, the first three being housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

This volume has a 70+ page hand written index cross referencing the articles and events. It is an amazing and unique look at the Revolutionary Era in New England, even containing the July 18, 1776 issue of the printing of the Declaration of Independence.

It is one of the greatest historical collections of Revolutionary period Boston newspapers ever to come to the market.

Declaration of Independence newspaper
Big news: The Declaration of Independence newspaper

Mr. Dorr, on the first page, presents, in his hand, introduction as follows: "This vol. has a very deformed body, but a beautiful soul." and later:

"...I have thought it worth while to collect them, "tho" at considerable expense, and VERY GREAT TROUBLE, in hopes that in future, they may be of some service, towards forming a POLITICAL history of this country, during the shameful and abandoned administration of George the Third's despotic ministry.".

The collection is followed by a 70 page hand written index.

This run of newspapers printed during the most critical years of the formation of America's independence provides a very special and comprehensive insight into the day to day happenings.

In addition, Mr. Dorr's extensive and intimate comments are a true reflection of the "man on the street". The collection is expected to sell for $150,000 - $300,000 in the Maine and online auction which closes this Thursday (August 25).


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