I have a complete set of National Geographic original issues from 1908 to present. I have a complete set of bound 1964 reprints from 1888 to 1907. I have every map published with each magazine too. I know there are so many variables. But, would any one like to give me an idea of how much this whole collection is worth and how much it would sell for? I'm not in the market of selling right now.
Any estimates are welcome.
First, collectables ebb and flow and the present market for NGM's is slow, or down, if you prefer.
Second, it's a very rare individual that might wish to come along and purchase, from scratch, an entire collection - and then you'd have to define an entire collection, i.e. all individual issues, all bound issues, a mixture of both; quality of issues, bound or otherwise; all supplements AND their conditions, annual (or more accurately, volume indexes included); etc.
So, given the fact you don't wish to include variables (truly an impossibility if you want an honest appraisal), I'll give it my best shot:
The bound 1964 set, sight unseen, should be valued anywhere from $1500 to $3000. For insurance purposes, I'd go with the higher value. I have seen one complete set sell for more, but I've also seen a complete set sell for $800.
The remainder of the collection (1908 - present), individual issues complete with all supplements, could be valued as such:
Fair to Good: $1,000 - $2,500
Good to Very Good: $2,500 - $5,000
Very Good to Fine: $5,000 - $8,000
Fine to Very Fine: $8,000 - $15,000
Very Fine to Near Mint: $15,000 - $25,000
Mint: Shoot for the moon!
I can't imagine anyone having a complete "Mint or Near Mint" collection. Age simply reduces the quality of material unless it has been sealed from its creation. Other variables such as poor handling procedures makes it nearly impossible to obtain a perfect record of this high quality.
Using my grading standard:
I rate my collection of individual issues beginning with 1908 through 1929 as Very Good (some with a minus, many with a + or even a few Fine or Very Fine scattered throughout).
The 1930's begin to pick up the VF's and more Fine issues.
Not until the '40's do I end up populating my collection with mostly VF's; and not until the early '50's do I begin to see the Near Mint issues.
As you stated right up front - there are a whole bunch of variables. I hope I've given you something to chew on and would be very interested to hear what you come up with for your collection.
Yours in collecting (NGM's),
Thank you again for wealth of knowledge, Mel. I'd say the 20 year set is in near mint condition. It's my understanding that 1,000 sets were printed. I even have the April 1913 issue with the supplement.
Total Number of Reprints Published by the National Geographic Society (NGS)
In a letter dated July 13, 1989, signed by Eugenia M. Ryan, Research Correspondence for the NGS, a copy of which was posted on the National Geographic Collector’s Corner forum by Mr. Jeffry Persons on 9 March 2015, the following 1964 reprint production is summarized:
Individual Issues Bound Volumes
Volumes 1-7 (1888 – 1897) 1,400 copies per issue 1,600
+2,000 additional Volume 1, No. 1
+1,000 additional Vol. 1, No.1 reprinted in 1975 (special identifier printed within)
Volumes 8-18 (1898 – 1907) 500 copies per issue 1,500