Whether you have picked up a box of old newspapers at a garage sale or found some saved in a relative's attic, finding a historic newspaper leads to the question of how much it is worth. While some rare newspapers of historic events or of the paper's first print edition may have significant value, many older newspapers are actually reproductions or of limited worth. The best way to determine your newspaper's value is to have it professionally appraised.
Determine whether the newspaper is from a historic date or has other significant value based on time period. The Library of Congress's Newspaper and Periodical Reading Room has a list of some valuable and rare newspaper editions.
Examine the newspaper to see if it is a facsimile or reproduction. Reproductions often have the word "reproduction" printed on the pages, and typically are not worth appraising.
Locate a bookseller or appraiser in your area. Lists of booksellers and other vendors that specialize in periodicals are available through the Library of Congress (loc.gov/rr/news/faqs/abaa.html), the Antiquarian Booksellers of America (hq.abaa.org/books/antiquarian/databases/bookseller_search.html) or the New York State Library (http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/nysnp/appraisers.htm), among others.
Call or email the bookseller or appraiser. Include information on the newspapers you want to have appraised, including the newspaper name, date and any other identifying information. Ask to make an appointment to bring in your newspapers for appraisal.
Bring in your newspapers for appraisal. Some appraisers or booksellers may charge a fee; others will appraise for free if you intend to sell the newspapers through them. Ask in advance what, if any, appraisal fees will apply.
Your state or university library will probably not appraise your newspaper but may have resources available to help you identify early editions of local papers. Call the research or periodical desk for more information.
It is usually best to bring potentially valuable newspapers to an appraiser yourself. If you must ship the paper to an appraiser, send it insured with a return receipt -- and require that the appraiser do the same when returning the periodical.