1774 newspaper found at Goodwill

Framed pages of Philadelphia paper donated

BELLMAWR, N.J. — A quick eye by Goodwill workers in southern New Jersey turned up framed pages from an original 1774 Philadelphia newspaper with an iconic âUnite or Dieã snake design on the masthead.

The frayed Dec. 28, 1774, edition of the âPennsyl­vania Journal and the Weekly Advertiserã boasts three items signed by John Hancock, then president of the Provincial Congress, who pleads for the Colonies to fight back âenemiesã trying to divide them.

A jumble of small advertisements offer rewards for a lost horse or runaway apprentice, while another insists the poster will no longer pay his âmisbehav(ing)ã wifeás debts.

The discovery was first reported by NJ Pen, an online news site.

Bob Snyder of the New York auction house Cohasco says the ârebelã newspaper shows how âeveryone was good and madã at the British just months before the Revolutionary War began. The masthead design is a variant of the âJoin, or Dieã political cartoon credited to Benjamin Franklin.

âThese were very important propaganda tools,ã Snyder said of newspapers and pamphlets of the era. âThe viciousness then in some was as much or more as it is today. … (But) the language was more powerful in putting down the other side.ã

Snyder estimates the news­paperás value at $6,000 to $16,000. Goodwill In­dus­tries hopes to sell it to help funds its educational and job-training services, ac­cording to Heather Randall, e-commerce manager of the regional operation in Bellmawr, New Jersey.

The framed document was dropped off in Woodbury, New Jersey, and sent to her department, which reviews donations that may be valuable, and lists the best among them on Shopgoodwill.com. Employee Mike Storms did the detective work, guessing it was original given small keyholes at the inside edge of the pages that suggest they had once been bound by string. Whatás more, the four pages were preserved in an old frame with glass on both sides.

âItás like a big treasure hunt, really, because you never know whatás going to come through. Sometimes, the things take a lot of research,ã Randall said.