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One of the first questions that people usually ask about collecting antique prints is, "Are they really original, and if so, how did they survive until today".  This is a reasonable question.  The prints come from original Harper's Weekly newspapers, the most popular illustrated newspaper of the day.  During the Civil War, most libraries subscribed to Harper's Weekly.  Many of these libraries would save the newspapers, and at the end of the year bind them all together into a large book, for archival purposes.  In addition, some wealthy families would save bound editions of Harper's Weekly.  As a result of these papers being protected in these bound volumes, some of them have survived until today.  During the middle part of this century, many libraries sold their bond editions of newspapers because of space limitations.  

The libraries saved microfilmed versions of the papers in their archives.  As libraries sold the bound volumes, they became available to the general population.  As interesting as these bound volumes are, they are not very useful or practical to collect, and do not make very interesting items to display.  Many collectors choose to purchase individual pages, or "leafs" from these original papers. The individual leafs can be purchased at an affordable cost, and make absolutely stunning displays when framed and placed in your office or study.  The prints will immediately become the center of attention when displayed, and all who visit will be drawn to them. 

Prints can be found on almost any topic imaginable. Some popular areas for collectors include Abraham Lincoln portraits, Civil War Battles, Civil War Generals, Battle Maps, Sailing Ships, Slave Material, and topics related to the Old West.  No matter what your interest, you can likely find original, dramatic illustrations from the pages of Harper's Weekly that you can proudly display.

Another common question has to do with old newspapers yellowing and falling apart.  Anyone who has kept a modern newspaper for more than a few months knows that they quickly turn yellow and deteriorate.  Today, an acid based process is used to make the paper, and remnant acid left in the paper causes the paper to yellow and fall apart.  In the mid-1800's a different process was used, one without acid, and these newspapers do not deteriorate. Generally, the papers from this era have a very pleasing sepia tone, and can be counted on to last hundreds of years is properly cared for.

 

 

 

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