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For more than a century, there was a numbering error on the front page of the New York Times every day, a bit of trivia going viral this week that was reported by The Atlantic via the blog Futility Closet.

In 1999, a news assistant named Aaron Donovan discovered the numbering of the issues was 500 issues off, and the newspaper published a correction on Jan. 1, 2000, explaining the backstory:

On Feb. 6, 1898, it seems, someone preparing the next day’s front page tried to add 1 to the issue number in the upper left corner (14,499) and came up with 15,000. Apparently no one noticed, because the 500-issue error persisted until yesterday (No. 51,753). Today The Times turns back the clock to correct the sequence: this issue is No. 51,254.

Thus an article on March 14, 1995, celebrating the arrival of No. 50,000 was 500 days premature…

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