The first sales figures for national newspapers since the 11 September terrorist attacks and the subsequent war on terrorism show huge increases for a range of broadsheet titles.
Some of the daily and Sunday broadsheets racked up double-digit circulation rises.
While the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday also made record gains, the red-top tabloids struggled.
The Mirror was the only daily red-top tabloid to put on sales compared to August, with a rise of 2 per cent.
In the broadsheet market, the biggest sales increases did not go to the most gung-ho papers in favour of military action. The Guardian, which was attacked by sections of the press for not giving unequivocal support to the Government, has hit its highest circulation for a decade and was up by more than 13 per cent on August.
Its sister Sunday, The Observer, had the highest increase in the Sunday market with a month-on-month rise of 13.7 per cent and a year-on-year increase of 9.2 per cent.
Sales of The Sunday Times were also spectacular at 1,458,209 – the paper’s highest September figure for 28 years and 11 per cent up on August.
The Independent’s sale of 242,793 was its highest figure since November 1997 and represented a month-on-month rise of 8.3 per cent.
Sunday Business, which has struggled since doubling its cover price, showed a rise of 9.6 per cent on September.
The Independent on Sunday was up by nearly 7 per cent and The Sunday Telegraph by just under 6 per cent.
The only broadsheet Sunday to show a fall on August was Scotland on Sunday. Similarly, The Scotsman was the only daily broadsheet to be down month-on-month, with a fall of 2.62 per cent.
The Times showed a rise of 5.8 per cent and The Daily Telegraph an increase of 2.7 per cent on August.
In the middle market, the Daily Mail sold 3,064,000 copies on 12 September, the day after the attacks in the US, which is the highest one-day sale in the paper’s history. Its average sale of 2,586,667 in September was its highest figure for 40 years and a rise of 6.6 per cent on August.
The Mail on Sunday’s average sale in September was 2,454,897, up 7 per cent on last year and was the highest monthly figure in its history. The six-monthly average figure of 2,381,408 was also a record for the MoS.
The Sunday Express showed a month-on-month rise of 3.4 per cent.
The Evening Standard, which broke many of the overnight stories on the world crisis, showed an 18 per cent rise on August.
The Sun was down by just under 1 per cent and the Daily Star also dropped in September, although its Irish edition showed a month-on-month rise of more than 5 per cent.
The Sunday Mirror showed the biggest month-on-month increase among the Sunday red-tops, up 1.6 per cent. The News of the World, which had a good August, added another 1.1 per cent last month. It is the fourth consecutive monthly increase for the paper, which is also showing a year-on-year rise on the corresponding six-month period last year.
By Jon Slattery