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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!


Baltimore Patriot & Advetiser "The Star Spangled Banner"  Maritz Travel Co Print

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 Estate Sale. 

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.

So 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. 

It's also 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.

1. 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 "hidden treasure".

Here's a close up picture of my "find" using my camera's Macro feature.

 

2. Beware of framed items.  The words print, printed with permission of, reproduced, etc., could be hidden in the part you don't see.

 3. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! -  Remember, 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 purchase. 

4. Trust 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 WEAPON
   
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.

Sign Timothy Hugh's
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!

www.rarenewspapers.com
Map History.Info

Much of what they use here to identify fake maps will also
apply to most faked prints.  This site was a great help to me
and I learned a lot!


www.maphistory.info/fakesintro.html

Conservatree.com

A terrific site with some great informative information
on the history and the hows and whys of
Paper Making

To View an Original Copy of an authentic April 1814
 Edition of the Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.


CLICK HERE

Comments? dustie@dustie.com

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