Got Old Newspapers? 3 Simple Ways to Turn Them Into Extra Money

65,157 Views
old newspapers
hanohiki/Getty Images

Suppose you’re helping a friend or relative with some deep cleaning and you come upon stacks of ancient newspapers. What do you do?

Don’t throw them away! You might be able to sell them just as they are or use them to make creative and profitable products. In fact, old newspapers can be worth a lot of cash if you know what to do with them.

Curious about earning money with something you’d normally just recycle? Here’s how to make money from newspaper.

Where to Find Old Newspapers

First, you’ll need a supply of old papers. There are several places to find them, including:

  • Basements
  • Garages
  • Attics
  • Family members’ houses
  • From “old newspapers wanted” ads on Craigslist

The newspapers don’t have to be ancient — just old enough to evoke nostalgic feelings in some people. Look for newspapers from at least 30 years ago, but experiment with newer ones if that’s what you have.

3 Ways to Make Money Using Old Newspapers

Once you’ve found some old newspapers, here’s how you can use them to make extra cash.

1. Sell Vintage Ads

Everything from my previous post on how to make money with old magazine ads applies to newspapers as well. Just cut out any ads that are likely to trigger a bit of nostalgia. These might include advertisements for classic cars, favorite foods and cigarettes.

Sell the ads on an as-is basis on eBay, or frame them if you’re selling at a flea market or antique booth and want to get a higher price. The market for newspaper ads is not nearly as active as it is for magazines, but of the more than 7,100 results that came up when searching “newspaper ads” on eBay, these examples had active bidding:

  • Large 1962 newspaper ad for Chevrolet, Pick Pack & Go, 4 Sun ‘n Fun models. High bid: $4.25.
  • 1930 Mickey Mouse Club original full-page newspaper ad. High bid: $16.50.
  • 1981 “American Pop” cult classic film movie opening day ad. High bid: $77.

Buyers also typically pay $3 to $4 for shipping, which is enough to send the ad and have some extra profit left over.

2. Sell Birthdate Newspapers

Ah, nostalgia! It makes for so many ways to cash in on old stuff. There are even companies that sell birthdate newspapers for up to $50 each. For example, a visitor to AnyDate.com can enter a friend’s date of birth and have an original newspaper from that date sent to him as a gift for $49.99 plus $9.50 shipping.

Of course, you aren’t likely to have tens of thousands of papers “carefully stored in a climate-controlled environment” like AnyDate.com has, so you might not be able to copy its business model. What do you do if you just have a dozen old newspapers you want to sell?

Open an account on eBay if you don’t already have one, and list your papers for sale. I searched “newspaper” plus my date of birth and found just one result listed, for $22.34 with shipping. Most dates I randomly searched yielded prices between $10 and $20, plus shipping. Many dates had zero results — which means that if you have a newspaper from one of those dates, you have no competition when someone searches for it.

You might also have some luck selling old newspapers at an antique consignment shop, but you could wait for years for someone with a particular date of birth to see any given paper and buy it.

You could also combine this strategy and the first one. Frame the front pages to sell as birthdate nostalgia, and then clip out and sell the ads inside the paper.

3. Sell Newspaper Creations

A post about newspaper crafts on Buzzfeed.com shows just how creative you can get with old news. Origami bows, pop art and hanging triangle banners are among the 35 creations featured. Some of them could even earn you some money.

On NewspaperJewelry.com, Holly Anne Mitchell sells necklaces, earrings, bracelets and many other artistic creations made from newspaper. She has had exhibitions in Newseum, The Museum of Art and Design and The Renwick Gallery.

Mitchell does not specifically use old newspapers, but it seems likely that you can cash in on nostalgia here as well. Who wouldn’t prefer their paper bracelet to be made from a newspaper published the day they were born?

Other possibilities? A search on Zazzle.com led to “Vintage Newspaper Background Placemats” for sale for $16.05 each, plus shipping. It appeared to be a roughly cut laminated chuck of any random page of an old paper. Ah nostalgia… what a money-maker.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).