Sunday, 31 March 2013

Random thought - Originals vs. Reprints

As a collector of historical newspapers I not only get enjoyment from reading an old edition of a paper, but also from knowing that it was there on the breakfast table, in the bus or in the coffee-house being read at the time; be it the day after D-Day, after Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon or William IV died. I can’t get that extra frisson with a reprint.

Why am I boring you with this? I recently went to E-Bay to look for a newspaper or two that would enhance my collection and noticed dozens if not hundreds of World War II papers for sale with the same editions coming up time and again. A few of the listings stated that they were selling ‘reprints’ but most used the word ‘original’. Now it may be just co-incidence but a check of the first 10 ‘original’ papers being offered happened to be also editions of the same papers that were part of the Marshall Cavendish part-work of War Newspaper Reprints catalogued here.

Claiming that something you are trying to sell is original when it is a reprint, facsimile or reproduction is fraudulent. Some listings use the phrase ‘original copy of’ a newspaper, which is ambiguous – ‘copy’ and ‘edition’ can be synonymous with reference to newspapers but semantically ‘original edition’ can be quite different to ‘original copy’.

I admit that telling an original from a reprint is sometimes difficult unless you can see the one side-by-side with the other, so possibly those selling dubious originals and original copies are doing so in innocent ignorance, but some are trying to part collectors from their money in return for fakes. 

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