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Lincoln Assassination Newspapers

Is it an original? We receive many inquiries from readers wondering if they own an 1865 newspaper announcing Lincoln's assassination ... and for good reason, as originals can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

According to Kent Tucker, an appraiser of Lincolniana from Illinois, the value of an original paper partly depends on its condition. Collectors are interested in the entire paper, not just the front page. If the paper is intact (contains all eight or four pages), it is worth far more than if it has been framed or cut apart, when its value plummets. If you have an original, resist the temptation to display it in a frame or remove any pages.

April 1865 editions of New York Herald, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Chronicle are among the most prized papers to collectors. Valuable editions are those which cover news of the assassination, funerals, and conspirators. Most original papers do not have images of Lincoln on the front. One exception is the Washington Chronicle of April 19, 1865.

Of these, the April 15, 1865 editions of the Herald are generally the most desirable. Kent explains that several editions were published that day, usually composed of eight pages, and none featured a Lincoln picture on the front page. Shown below is a comparison between an authentic paper (which has value) and a reprint (which does not).

Click here for more information on the Herald from the Library of Congress

New York Herald Newspaper Reprint © Abraham Lincoln Online Shown here is a reprint of the New York Herald with a Lincoln picture on the front page, a sure sign that this is NOT an original edition. Reprints were made soon after the original, so you may find an old paper which is not a sought-after original edition. Most reprints consisted of only four pages.

New York Herald Newspaper Original
© Abraham Lincoln Online
This image shows a copy of an authentic New York Herald paper, which was one of several editions published on April 15, 1865. Most originals are eight pages, although the 10 a.m. edition was only four pages.

Do you have an old newspaper, book, or other historic item which needs to be preserved? Click here for detailed information from the National Park Service.

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