Question: I have hundreds of newspaper clippings from Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles dating as far back as the early 1920s. There are pictures of actors, actresses, celebrities and famous people. I would like to share them. What do you suggest?--H.K.
Answer: The market for newspaper clippings is negligible. Dealers and collectors say they generally don't want them because they're primarily interested in the full paper--not just a clipping.
Moreover, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Public Library said with most institutions switching over to microfilm, there's been very little demand for clippings even if they do go back a number of years.
To have any real value, says Richard M. Robinson of Beverly Hills, a local newspaper collector, "you must have the entire front page or front section. The front page is the key thing."
Robinson says he has about 250,000 newspapers--stretching from the mid-17th Century through the 1950s--stored in a Downtown Los Angeles warehouse.
Among his most valuable newspapers from this century are the front pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Virginia Pilot for the first Wright Brothers flight on Dec. 17, 1903 (a $500 price tag) and the Chicago Tribune's famous front-page headline goof, "Dewey Defeats Truman," published on Nov. 3, 1948 ($350, although the price has fluctuated wildly).
Collector Robinson says he'll be glad to field questions at (213) 272-7429 or P. O. Box 3512, Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212.
Q: I have several corkscrews I have collected over the years, and I am now considering selling my collection. To whom should I turn?--C.M.
A: Henry A. Hyman's book, "Where to Sell Anything & Everything" (World Almanac Publications, $8.95), says Aaron Corenman of Brookside Antiques, P. O. Box 747, Los Altos, Calif. 94022, is in the market.
"Corkscrews made between 1700 and 1930 are Aaron Corenman's pleasure, especially miniature, pocket, table and large, mechanical, bar-mounted types," Hyman writes. Interested parties should send a photo or a full-size tracing along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Setting a price might expedite a decision.
Q: How far back do collectors go in searching for world's fair and exposition items?--W.O.
A: In 1851, there was the Great Exhibition in London. Collectors generally point to this event as the beginning of the modern era of "great exhibition" collecting.
As you can imagine, there are numerous items that can be included in this category ranging from programs, plates and medals to spoons, flags and post cards. Prices also range all over--from a few dollars for a general admission ticket to several hundreds of dollars for a fairgrounds map.
Q: I am a big fan of archery and would like to decorate my den with some arrows and bows. But I would also be interested in acquiring some antique crossbows. How much money are we talking about?--V.E.
As a weapon, the crossbow appears to date as far back as the early 12th Century. Its practical military use appears to have dwindled by the late 16th Century. We mention these time frames because they add up to big bucks when trying to buy a weapon in decent condition.
Prepare to lay out anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 or more, according to the prices we've seen. For example, a German steel bow was listed in one catalogue at $3,400. A 16th-Century European crossbow with brass mounts and a steel bow (no country of origin specified) was listed at $1,400.
Given these prices, and the difficulty in locating authentic crossbows in good condition, you might be better off sticking to bows and arrows.
Ronald L. Soble cannot answer mail personally but will respond in this column to questions of general interest about collectibles. Do not telephone. Write to Your Collectibles, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.