Q: I’m 92 years old and am trying to get rid of some old possessions. A copy of the April 20, 1865, Philadelphia Inquirer has been in my family for ages. The front page has several articles about President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral. There are drawings (not photographs) of the funeral car and coffin. I’d like to sell it but don’t know the value. Can you help?
A: Newspapers covering the death of President Lincoln are collectible. The value of old newspapers varies, depending on the importance of the historical event covered as well as condition and rarity. A front page article with graphic art is more important than articles on inside pages or those without pictures. Before photography was commonly used, illustrations were made from wood cuts. Some newspapers that are old but don’t cover significant events sell for under $10, while newer papers covering important events can sell for hundreds of dollars. Old newspapers become yellow and crumble if not stored properly, but newspapers printed on paper made from rag linen, common before 1876, don’t deteriorate as quickly as those made on modern paper. Newspapers should be stored flat and away from light, heat and moisture. Don’t store them in the attic or basement. Newspapers with stories about Lincoln have sold in recent years for $10 to a few hundred dollars, depending on condition and content.