A quick eye by Goodwill workers in southern New Jersey turned up framed pages from an original 1774 Philadelphia newspaper with an iconic "Unite or Die" snake design on the masthead, the AP reports. The frayed Dec. 28, 1774, edition of the Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser boasts three items signed by John Hancock, then president of the Provincial Congress, who pleads for the Colonies to fight back "enemies" 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 "misbehav(ing)" wife's debts. Bob Snyder of the New York auction house Cohasco says the "rebel" newspaper shows how "everyone was good and mad" at the British just months before the Revolutionary War began.
The masthead design is a variant of the "Join, or Die" political cartoon credited to Benjamin Franklin. Snyder estimates the newspaper's value at $6,000 to $16,000. Goodwill Industries hopes to sell it to help fund its educational and job-training services, according to Heather Randall, a regional e-commerce manager whose department reviewed the donation after it was dropped off in Woodbury, NJ. There are three other existing copies of the same weekly edition of the Pennsylvania Journal, all housed in university collections. The Pennsylvania Journal was published by William and Thomas Bradford, who came from a distinguished local family of booksellers and printers. (This Goodwill donation contained something explosive.)