10 collectible vintage crime newspapers and magazines



2017-02-22 11:19:52

Murders. Confessions. Executions.

All drawn and described in the most lurid detail.

Yes, true crime periodicals, newspapers and magazines have been titillating the masses for more than 150 years. And they're exciting collectors today. Here are 10 collectible vintage titles:

The Illustrated Police News (UK): Jack the Ripper

November 17, 1888

Jack the Ripper's handiwork in London's East End was a godsend for the UK's Illustrated Police News – the first true crime periodical and dubbed "the worst newspaper in Britain" by its critics.

The publication covered the Ripper case numerous times, in this instance detailing the murder of his last victim, Mary Kelly. Although the paper asserts this to be the Ripper's seventh victim, he is thought to have struck only five times.

The killer's identity remains unknown. Theories range from Queen Victoria's grandson to painter Walter Sickert.

Value: $25

The Illustrated Police News (US): The Mysterious Strangler of Denver

December 1, 1894

The American version of the Illustrated Police News was as sensationalist as its British counterpart.

"A sure fingered monster who makes women of the town his murderous prey. Three Cyprians [prostitutes] choked to death and not a clue left."

Despite strong evidence against him, local felon Richard Demady – who lived with one of the victims – was acquitted of the murders.

Value: $150

Illustrated London News: James Carey turns informant

February 24, 1883

The first illustrated weekly news magazine in the world, the Illustrated London News proved that pictorial news could sell – and inspired the crime periodicals that followed. But it wasn't against a murder itself.

This page details the 1882 Phoenix Park slayings in Dublin, which saw five Irish nationalists stab to death two prominent politicians.

The illustration shows James Carey, one of the leaders of the plot, turning "Queen's Evidence" against the others, resulting in the executions of five of the gang.

Carey walked free and, fearing for his life, fled to South Africa. Carey had the bad luck to encounter a fellow Irish Republican while on the ship to South Africa, who shot him dead.

Value: $15

Broadside from John Bolt's execution


Before crime papers and magazines, there were broadsides.

These poster-sized publications were sold at public executions throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. This example from 1823 details the confession of John Bolt, 21, from the execution cell. Bolt had attempted to murder a nursery maid by shooting her in the head after she had refused his marriage proposal.

He was hanged at Exeter Prison, his last words spoken to a friend nearby: "God bless you–when we meet again I hope it will be in a better place".

Value: $500

Police Gazette: Young Franklin caught with his step-mother


Established in the US in 1845, the Police Gazette was famed for its illustrations. Including this domestic affair, taken from a January 20, 1894 edition of the weekly periodical.

Value: $20

The Illustrated Police News (US): The maid gets a surprise

June 24, 1875

It wasn't all blood and guts in the sensationalist Victorian papers. More light-hearted moments also appeared – although the maid may disagree.

Value: $40

The Illustrated Police News (UK): Police raid drag party


"Disgraceful proceedings in Manchester. Men dressed as women!" 

The British police have never been the most enlightened organisation. And men dressed in drag in the 1880s was clearly too much to bear.

Value: $20

True Detective

January 1938

True Detective ran from 1924 to 1995, and was the first true-crime magazine, taking its literary style from the pulp fiction of the first half of the century.

Value: $30

Police Gazette: The Strange Case of the Redheaded Murderer


By the 20th Century, the Police Gazette had evolved to offer crime and scantily clad women. But not necessarily in that order.

This 1943 edition advertises the dual delights of film star Dona Drake, and "The Strange Case of the Redheaded Murderer". They were not one and the same.

 Value: $15

999 Crime News Illustrated


The Crime News Illustrated was a short-lived affair in the mid-1940s, with post war Britain lacking the funds to spend on weekly crime news.

Value: $25

All images courtesy of eBay

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