It might fetch a hefty price on eBay, if it happens to be one of several morning editions that erroneously declared Tuesday's still too-close-to-call presidential election in favor of Texas Gov. George W. Bush. As of 2:40 p.m. PST Wednesday, some 400 newspapers carrying headlines such as "Bush Wins" and "It's Bush!" were up for bid at the online auction site.
Newspapers up for grabs include early editions of the New York Post, The Miami Herald, The Des Moines Register, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, The Florida Times-Union and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Starting prices ranged from 1 cent to $999. One seller posted a bid of $110 for the version by The Press of Atlantic City, writing: "Bush Wins newspaper. Atlantic City Press Nov. 8th 2000 edition declaring Bush the winner. Not read."
Wednesday's botched headline reminded many voters of the infamous, and incorrect, "Dewey defeats Truman" headline that the Chicago Daily Tribune ran in 1948. Two copies of those original papers recently sold on eBay for $127.50 and $405.
"At one time (the Dewey papers) were selling for up to $1,200 to $1,500" in the late 1980s, said Rick Brown, the owner of the Newspaper Collectors Society of America. He said he's auctioning a Dewey paper on his Web site that he expects to sell for about $750.
Irwin Shamah, 59, bought about 50 copies of the New York Post's first edition this morning, which announced that Bush had won. "I'm not really sure how much they will go for, but I figured it was worth it to buy them, particularly if it ends up that Gore wins," he wrote in an email interview.
Shamah posted one copy for sale on eBay on Wednesday and received a bid as high as $9.99 by midday.
Miscalls plagued online and TV election coverage Tuesday. A handful of sites, including Inside.com and Evote.com, published exit poll results from Voter News Service in advance of widely observed embargoes.
The sites correctly called the popular vote, which Gore won by a margin of 48.3 percent to 48 percent. But they missed a key call in handing the Florida electoral college vote to Gore early Tuesday afternoon. Major news organizations followed with the same results after the polls closed but retracted the Florida result when it came to light that technical glitches had skewed the original numbers.
At 11 p.m., TV broadcasters handed the election to Bush after Gore placed a call to his rival conceding defeat. But Gore retracted the concession as it became clear that Florida's votes would be subject to a recount.
The retraction came too late for some print publications, however. The San Francisco Chronicle, for one, said in a later corrected version that it had distributed several thousand copies of an early morning edition declaring Bush the winner based on Gore's concession call.
Bush leads Gore by just 1,784 votes out of some 6 million ballots cast in Florida--a margin of less than one-half of 1 percent. Whoever takes Florida's 25 electoral college votes will win the election and be the next president of the United States.