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    Auction Finds

    Reader asks about selling Black Panther newspapers

    Fridays at Auction Finds is readers’ questions day. I try to guide readers to resources for them to determine the value of their items. I’m not able to appraise their treasures, but I can do some preliminary research to get them started. So, these are market values based on prices I find on the web, not appraisal for insurance purposes that I suggest for items that have been determined to be of great value.

    Today’s question is about where to sell Black Panther Party newspapers.


    A group of 24 Black Panther newspapers sold by Swann Auction Galleries for $1,800 in 2013.


    As a high school student in Newark, NJ, in the late 60s, I was active in my community and sold Black Panther Party newspapers. I have several original papers from 1968-1971 that I would like to sell. In the process of researching the right way to sell my small collection, I found your site. Perhaps you can direct me to the right gallery or organization that might be interested in my documents.


    The Black Panther Party began selling its newspaper called “The Black Panther” a year after it was organized in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, CA. Artist Emory Douglas created the in-your-face imagery of the Party through posters and artwork featured in the newspaper.

    Douglas joined the Party after meeting Newton and Seale in 1967. He began as an artist for the inaugural edition of the newspaper that year, and became the man behind the art direction, layout and production of the newspaper until it was discontinued around 1979 or 1980.


    A newspaper cover noting the death of 21-year-old Illinois Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. From the Society of Publication Designers website.

    The paper offered news of the Party, its confrontations with the local police and establishment, its call for resistance, and its self-help and other programs. The paper became so powerful that the FBI in 1970 ordered its field offices in eight cities (including Newark) to devise ways to cripple it. The FBI estimated the circulation in excess of 100,000. Another site put the number at 250,000 a year later.

    As for selling the papers, I’d also suggest you contact Wyatt Day, who coordinates Swann Auction Galleries’ sale of African American manuscripts.

    Last year, the auction house sold a group of 25 Black Panther newspapers dated 1967 to 1971 for $3,120 (including the buyer’s premium). They included artwork by Douglas.

    In 2012, it sold a group of 24 dated 1969-1971 for $1,800, and in 2006, it sold a group of 11 dated 1969-1970 for $805.






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