August 25, 2011

Fairfield auctioneer sells rare newspapers for $345,000

By Scott Monroe smonroe@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD — A rare collection of annotated Massachusetts newspapers from the Revolutionary War period is going home.

The papers, one of four such volumes, were sold this morning at the James D. Julia Auction House for $345,000. The winning bidder, who participated by telephone, was the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The Boston-based society already owns the three other Harbottle Dorr newspaper volumes and plans to hold an exhibit with the complete collection, according to society President Dennis Fiori.

“This new acquisition is a wonderful complement to the society’s collections,” Fiori said. “This was a rare opportunity to acquire a piece of such historical importance. Not only are we reuniting a set of significant resources on the Revolution, but we are ensuring that it remains part of the public domain.”

Boston shopkeeper Harbottle Dorr wrote in the margins of the newspapers, which date 1772 from 1776, offering an unprecedented look at the American Revolution as it happened, by someone in the middle of it.

Auctioneer James Julia said today that what’s most incredible is that the newspaper-turned-diaries comes from “the man on the street, an everyman.”

“There’s nothing known to exist like this,” Julia said.

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