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National Geographic magazine a good collectible for all budgets

Oct. 14, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

They are just too good to throw away. National Geographic magazine's beautiful pictures and quality articles encourage the populous to hold on to them. We want the opportunity to savor those far off places and revisit the wonderful maps that could take us there. Once we are through with them we want someone else to have the same joy so we pass them along to friends. And as happens in many cases we just keep them. They pile up in our attics and garages until we finally have to throw up our hands and either throw them out or donate them to charity book sales.

According to the National Geographic website finding copies of their publications from 1970 until now is relatively easy. A little more difficult but doable is finding those published from 1920 to the present. The real challenge is finding those publications that span the time period from 1888 through the 1920s. With more than 1,200 editions out there to be found, a collector could work on this venue for long time.

There are particular magazines that are more sought after than others because of their content. For example, National Geographic once published a 1906 edition showcasing photos taken by former Congressman George Shiras. Obviously these significant editions could bring a higher price than others.

This is not a costly hobby to enter. If one were a beginner then visiting book sales, rummage events and flea markets would allow them to get started for a minimal investment. In fact there is probably someone out there willing to give them away to just get them off of their hands. As time moved along for the collector, the fun would be filling gaps in publication dates. Ebay prices tend to be all over the place with the highest prices being for the very early editions or several sets bound together.

The National Geographic website is most helpful in offering information dealing with this collectible. They still have some of the older magazines they will sell to interested individuals. Several online auction houses sport advertisements for the magazine as well.

The monthly magazines are very collectible as are the maps, globes and special edition books the Society has published. Like the magazines, the early publications are the most difficult to find. It is an easy collectible and educational inside and out.

Jean McClelland writes about antiques for The Herald-Dispatch.