OH MY GOSH...
I REALLY FOUND A TREASURE!
A NEARLY 200 YEAR OLD NEWSPAPER PAGE FROM THE
BALTIMORE PATRIOT & EVENING ADVERTISER,
WHICH CONTAINS THE FIRST NEWSPAPER PRINTING OF
THE WORDS TO THE "THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER"!
THIS HAS GOT TO BE AN IMPORTANT PAPER IN
THE HISTORY OF AMERICA!
WHAT A FIND!! CHECK IT OUT!
OH NO....TELL ME IT ISN'T SO!
IT'S A FAKE? REALLY? IT LOOKED SO REAL!
DANG! THERE GOES THAT BIG VACATION I
WAS GOING TO
TAKE MY HUSBAND ON!
Well, at least the price didn't put me in the poor
house. I purchased this "antique" on half price day at a local estate for
30.00. I'm pretty sure the folks who ran the estate sale thought it was
real (hence the original 60.00 price which is a lot of money at a NW Arkansas
I don't think it was the original intention of anyone to trick someone
into thinking this print was real. It was just my misfortune that the
original owner chose to have it custom framed (the discoloration of the area
hidden by the frame points to it having been framed years ago) with
the name of the print maker hidden by the frame.
To me it just looked so real (though probably not to
a trained eye) and the fact that it had an old label on the back of a custom
frame shop, I had no reason to think it wasn't genuine.
I was so
excited. As soon as my husband went to bed, I took to the
net and did some serious research (till 3 AM). Many times
during the night I found my heart doing the happy dance!
All research was pointing to the
fact that I had, indeed, found a true American treasure!
Finally, when I came across a page
that listed my paper as number 5 of the top 10 most important
papers of the 19th century (not counting the unaffordable ones
such as Lincoln's Assassination) , I started coming back down to
earth. Number 5 of 100 years of worth of
newspapers nationwide? This was just too good to be
true...too good to be true...to..good..to...be...true?
Well, to be safe, maybe it was time to do some research on how
to tell if an old paper is really old, or just made to look like
an old paper?
It was around 2:30 AM when I began
researching how to tell a fake from the real deal. By 3
AM, I the happy dancing in my heart had stopped. I was 99%
certain that what I had was not authentic (1% still hoped).
But if it wasn't a real paper, then what was it? I had no
choice. I was going to have to cut the paper off the back
and remove my old
paper from it's frame. It was then that the full truth was revealed.
what did I get for my hastily spent 30.00?
First I knew I was going to get a good taste of humble pie, since I'd already
bragged of my fantastic find to my daughter and son in law (as of this writing,
I've not told them yet).
I was also got an online
refresher course on the war of 1812. Wow...you mean we really went to war
with Canada? And we declared war on England a second time? Now that
was interesting to learn again. I'm sure we covered that war in school, but alas, my 57 yr.
old brain has let go of too many bits learned in the early history of my own
life, let along bits of history of other's lives.
Then there's the fact that I am now the proud owner
of a nicely done print reproduction, in good condition, of a historically
significant early American newspaper. The print was made by the Maritz
Travel company reprinted with permission of the Maryland Historical Society, both names
clearly printed at the bottom. Perhaps the print
was created around the 4th of July, 1976, to celebrate our countries
bicentennial. I can't find another like it on the net, so perhaps I've
found something rare after all. I've written to the Maryland Historical
society and I'll let you know what they say.
given me motivation to create this web page which will might
just help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
After all, I am a web designer by trade, not an avid collector
of historical treasures. Could be why I mistakenly took a
1976 print for a 1814 newspaper. This page has already
helped me by allowing me to put a positive spin on my mistake.
Hopefully it will help you too.
Lastly, I learned a valuable lesson which will be
long remembered. Use caution when purchasing "antiques" and always evaluate, as
best you can on the spot, old prints and newspapers. Below are a few tips
I've learned to use in those evaluations which might be of help.
LOOK FOR THE DOTS - Carry a high power magnifier
in your glove box (5x or
higher) and use it to look closely at old paper. Of if you have a good
camera with a macro setting, take a close up photo. If you see lines of tiny dots in a
uniform pattern it's a sure sign that what you are looking at has been made with
modern printing practices! This is such a quick and easy test
and would have told me immediately that this was a reproduction and not a
Here's a close up picture of my
"find" using my camera's Macro feature.
Beware of framed items. The words print, printed with permission
of, reproduced, etc., could be hidden in the part you don't see.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! -
though there are, undoubtedly, undiscovered treasures still out there, they are
very RARE! Approach such "finds" as if they are fakes and take
steps to prove to yourself otherwise before you make a
your instincts if it passes your
thorough inspection. If
it doesn't feel right, walk away. There are other treasures out there.
If it does, then buy it, and
if it still ends up being
wrong, just let it go and learn from the experience. No one is perfect as
anyone one who seeks "hidden" treasure will attest to, but the rewards of
seeking can be great, and if they aren't, you will still have had the pleasure
of seeking it. I trusted my instincts about this "fake" and I was wrong.
But all in all, looking back, I did have the pleasure of seeking it, and it was
fun to think, for a few hours anyway, that I'd found a real treasure! And
what I learned might just help me find a real treasure in the future!
KNOWLEDGE IS YOUR BEST
and of course, the web is full of valuable knowledge
on this subject!
Give yourself a treat and spend some time in front of
your computer learning the history of paper and print making. Learn what
papers were used in what times in history and apply that to any paper treasures
"ephemera" you may be looking at.
Here are a few valuable websites to spend some
time in. They were a great help to me and I hope they will be to you also.
Rare & Early Newspapers -
His FAQ pages on how to tell if
a paper might be fake was invaluable
and started me seriously thinking.
Also the largest collection of old newspapers
on the internet, all guaranteed to be THE REAL DEAL!
Much of what they use here to identify
apply to most faked prints. This site
was a great help to me
and I learned a lot!
A terrific site with
some great informative information
on the history and
the hows and whys of
To View an
Original Copy of an authentic April 1814
Edition of the
Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.