Pre-Revolutionary War newspaper, complete with 'rebel' snake, turns up at New Jersey Goodwill

A Philadelphia newspaper that predates the Revolutionary War and features the iconic “Unite or Die” snake in its masthead was discovered recently at a Goodwill processing center in New Jersey.

Heather Randall, e-commerce manager for Goodwill of Southern New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia, told NJpen.com that the Dec. 28, 1774, edition of The Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser came into its facility recently, framed and under a protective glass.

A quick eye by Goodwill workers in southern New Jersey turned up the original 1774 Philadelphia newspaper with an iconic "Unite or Die" snake in the masthead.

A quick eye by Goodwill workers in southern New Jersey turned up the original 1774 Philadelphia newspaper with an iconic "Unite or Die" snake in the masthead. (AP)

She said that the previous owner is unknown and that they don’t know more about the 244-year-old paper, other than that “it was donated.”

The artifact features three items by John Hancock, who pleads for the colonies to fight back against "enemies" who would divide them. The iconic "Unite or Die" snake design on the masthead can also be seen.

This Thursday photo shows John Hancock's name in a Dec. 28, 1774, Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser at the Goodwill in Bellmawr, N.J.

This Thursday photo shows John Hancock's name in a Dec. 28, 1774, Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser at the Goodwill in Bellmawr, N.J. (AP)

Advertised rewards for a lost horse or runaway apprentice provide insight into the historical time period, as does a pledge by one man to no longer pay his wife’s debts.

Bob Snyder, of the New York auction house Cohasco, says the "rebel" paper shows how "everyone was good and mad" just months before the Revolutionary War began.

He estimates the paper is worth $6,000-$16,000. Goodwill Industries hopes to sell it to help fund its educational and job training services.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.