Copy of Ben Franklin’s newspaper with ‘Join or Die’ political cartoon up for auction

This political cartoon, long said to be the work of Ben Franklin, appeared in the May 9, 1754, edition of Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette.


By JOSEPH A. GAMBARDELLO | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Published: July 23, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (Tribune News Service) — A copy of Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper containing the original version of the well-known “Join or Die” political cartoon will be auctioned this week in Los Angeles.

Bidding for the May 9, 1754, edition of the Gazette will begin at $40,000, Nate D. Sanders Auctions said in a statement.

The cartoon, attributed to Franklin, appears on the last page of the four-page newspaper, which was published in Philadelphia.

The auction house says the copy up for auction Thursday is the only one known to exist outside of one held by the Library of Congress.

While the cartoon would later become associated with the Revolutionary War, its original intent was to rally the British colonies to join together against the French and their Native American allies during Seven Years War between Great Britain and France.

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