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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A rare newspaper from 1774 found its way into the bins of Goodwill Industries in Bellmawr, New Jersey, and employees are excited and intrigued.
The newspaper, The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser was printed on December 28, 1774 in Philadelphia. Staff members discovered it at the Goodwill in Bellmawr.
“When I showed it to my boss I was like a kid in a candy store,” Michael Storms with Goodwill told Eyewitness News.
Storms says someone anonymously donated it, possibly not realizing the historical significance.
“It’s just so incredible that you are standing in the presence of a document that old,” Goodwill supervisor Heather Randall said.
What makes the piece so rare isn’t the fact that it mentions John Hancock or King George III. It’s rare because of the word “unite” as in “Unite or Die” with a snake above representing the colonies. The symbol is synonymous with Benjamin Franklin and far rarer than the snake with the words “Join or Die.” This newspaper was appraised between $6,000 and $16,000.
The Goodwill team hopes to fetch at least $10,000 for the piece. They’ll take that money and funnel it into education programs for other employees.
“We do a lot of training for people to get their GEDs free of charge,” Heather Randall said.
Now, it’s just a matter of finding the right buyer. The Goodwill team plans to find a buyer possibly through an auction house, or see if a local museum has any interest.
“I never thought that I would run across something I could actually touch or read and say ok this was printed back then. Every day the colonists were reading this,” Storms said.