When billionaire oilman Phil Anschutz (right) bought the San Franicsco Examiner he donated the paper’s archives, which date back to the 1860s, to UC Berkeley. He got a $18.4 million tax write-off for the donation — more than the $10.7 million he paid the Fang family to buy the newspaper in 2004.
But now, as the San Francisco Daily reports, more than 700 original photographs from those archives are being sold on eBay. The SF Daily’s Richard Cole reports:
- The archives, dating back to the 1860s, are from the era when Hearst Corp. owned the Examiner.
“The archive was donated as an entire historical record, and that was where most of the value came from,” complained history buff Anne Taylor. “If these archives were donated for a tax break worth millions of dollars, why are they being sold off picture by picture on E-Bay?”
The University of California at Berkeley, which received the archives, insists it is not the seller.
“We are aware of the sales, but it is not the university,” said spokeswoman Kathleen Maclay.
The Examiner wouldn’t return phone calls about the sales and eBay originally said it would put the SF Daily in touch with the seller, but later declined. Cole also wrote:
- College of San Mateo history Professor Michael Svanevik spent time in the old Examiner archives before the donation, and said it was possible the collection could have been pilfered when it was stored at the old Warfield theater.
“The place was horrible,” he said. “I found homeless people sleeping on the floor in the morning, and there were pigeons flying around, crapping on the archives.”