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Buxbaum, Edwin C., “Collector’s Guide to the National Geographic Magazine, 3rd Edition” @ 1971.

Nathan, Roger E., “Collectibles of the National Geographic Society,” @ 1978.



Please feel free to contact me on this site with any questions.


Volume II states that 750 copies were printed of these earliest issues (a total of nine issues at the time). These were distributed one per member, 25 per author, approximately 80 to other societies for subscription exchange with the balance made available to new members upon request.

The first type of reprints was authorized by the National Geographic Society (NGS) for Volumes IV and V (date of authorization is unknown, but most likely prior to 1896):

Volume IV          Volume V


No/Quantity      No/Quantity

1 / 125                1 / 225

2 / 500                2 / 25

3 / 125                3 / 50

4 / 25

5 / 225


These reprints are indistinguishable from the originals. See note below for a discussion of other “possible” reprints such as these.

By 1896 several of the first 36 issues, known as “red brick” issues, were no longer available; all of Volumes IV and VI (which supports the assumption above that reprints were most likely ordered prior to 1896); and most of Volume II was no longer available to new members.

The second type of reprints was single paper reprints without covers provided to the paper’s author.*

The third type of reprints was also single paper reprints with covers, again provided to the paper’s author, that may or may not have had the same cover as the magazine, i.e. “red brick” color.*

The fourth type of reprints was the NGS sponsored 1922 reprint of Volume I, No’s 2 and 4, each with 5 to 6 significant differences to the originals that are used to identify them as reprints. The purplish colored covers with thin grayish parallel lines running vertically are the most readily observable differences identifying these issues as reprints. Only 1000 copies of these reprints were distributed.

The fifth type of reprints was the NGS sponsored 1964 reprints. Buxbaum goes into great detail about the differences between these issues and the original. Please refer to his extensive descriptions for details. 1000 copies of the individual issues were distributed; an undetermined number of bound volumes were distributed.


Buxbaum describes two variants of Volume I, No 3 that indicate, at a minimum, two distinct publication runs for this issue, if not a reprint of the issue. He was unable to determine the exact cause of the printing differences.

There are two very obvious variants of April 1905, the issue directly responsible for the increase of membership that same year from 3,400 members to over 11,000 members. The first variant is the same yellowish cover as all the other 1905 issues. The second variant was the dark wine cover reprint authorized during 1905, if not April/May 1905 as the first variant ran low in stock.

I know of other 1905 variants that indicate at least a different print run. I have a June 1905 that is cut significantly different as compared to several other June 1905’s I have had. The issue will not fit into an NGS slip case.

*Beyond 1896, records of this type of reprints could not be located by Buxbaum – but this type of reprint most likely continued for many years (for the authors).

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If it's not too much hassle, would you be able to take a picture of one standard and this one larger copy of June 1905 so I may see it? Just curious. Are you the first to mention this particular variance!

   - Scott 


Info requested has been added - thanks for your interest.


June 1905 Anomaly

(This is a reprint of an anomaly I previously posted - but have added photos)

The format for this year began in 1904, but it was the same size as the format that began in 1900, with a 7” X 10” format.

Not until I acquired my latest June 1905, did I realize there are some significant discrepancies in the way the issues were trimmed.

We’re talking 16ths of an inch, but it’s enough such that the magazines will not fit into the National Geographic slip cases.

Here’s how my collection measures up to the 7” X 10” format:

Month             Measured Dimensions                      Extras for June

Jan                   6 13/16 X 10

Feb                  6 15/16 X 10

Mar                 6 14/16 X 9 15/16

Apr                  6 14/16 X 10

May                 6 14/16 X 10 1/16

June (3 copies)            6 14/16 X 10 2.5/16*;                         6 14/16 X 10 1.5/16; 6 14/16 X 10 1/16;

July                 6 13/16 X 9 15/16

Aug                 6 14/16 X 10

Sep                  6 12/16 X 10

Oct                  6 14/16 X 9 15/16

Nov                 6 14/16 X 9 15/16

Dec                  6 14/16 X 9 15/16

*Won’t fit into a National Geographic slip case without bending the issue.




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