I too am a NG magazine collector and have accumulated a complete collection going back to 1928, plus miscellaneous issues prior to 1928. The undated NG slipcases are much too narrow to comfortably accommodate more than 4, occasionally 5, issues of any magazine year before 1941. Each pre 1941 year therefore, for the sake of uniformity, requires the purchase of 6 undated slipcases, which represents a considerable expense, around $48 per 6 slipcases, plus shipping adn handling. Then you can create labels Jan-April, May-August and Sept-Dec for each year. Office Depot sells Avery labels, 18 labels per sheet. I use template #8425. I don't know why NG creates undated slipcases that can only be used for years 1941-1949. If I accumulate, let's say, a complete collection from 1921-1940, that will cost be 20 x $48 just for the slipcases = $960.00. It's almost prohibitively expensive. Pre-1930 magazines in excellent condition, with intact spines, are themselves very costly, perhaps $10-$15 an issue, so we're talking a minimum of $120 per complete pre-1941 year, plus the $50 or so for the cases, = approx $170 per year for the magazines plus slipcases. It is a very expensive hobby. I have seen 70-80 year collections on ebay for around $1000, but the demand is almost non-existent at that price.
I have spent at least $5K on my collection over the years, so I will never be able to re-coup my cost. It's just that, for me, once I collected 50 years or so of the magazines, I find it hard to stop and draw the line somewhere. I only buy issues in excellent condition, with intact, or near intact spines. In any case, my entire study is taken up by four 84" bookshelves, so I'm running out of space to house my collection. My wife wants me to sell the entire collection, but so far I just can't bring myself to do it.
I agree or am in sympathy with everything you stated. It boggles the mind to ponder why they sized the non-dated slipcases the way they did. It seems to defeat the purpose of them . . . in that the most likely use for them is precisely the pre-1950 years. Then again, you'd need a few different sizes depending on the era I suppose. If it was someone's intention to slipcase the 1910's, or the first 20 years, it would get interesting in how to break them into year cases or whatnot.
The bulk of the 1920's, all of 1930's and late 40's are the most problematic, and 4, maybe 5 is the most I was able to get into my own duplicate cases. Alas, I acquired a bulk qty. of the dated cases from 1950-1990's on an eBay auction to accomodate my 1920's - 1940's. For now, all my 1908-1919's are individually polybagged and in comic storage boxes because I have not been able to get them gathered into my cases which were separated from me for quite a while.
As you say, it is a quite pricey endeavour, even if buying used slipcases on something like eBay, though not near as much as the NG Store retail price, for sure!
You raise the issue of finding a way to acceptably re-label or label them....there was another thread about that elsewhere in this group back in 2007-2009, not sure when. I think Mel DeVilbiss had found a nice label brand that looked really nice, but I was never able do anything on that front (yet).
For what it's worth, I vote for you to keep your NGM set! I know there's the tendancy that "the wives" don't find Nat Geo collecting amusing or useful, heh heh.
Have you ever come across or posessed any of those old (3rd party) NGM case holders, but the Highsmith Co. ?
Have a good day,
- Scott S.
Your suggestion is something I had already done, when I found the thicker, earlier issues would not fit 6 to a slipcase. But I put 3 slipcases per year (instead of 2) with 4 months per case (instead of 6). You did state the right month range that you mentioned (Jan-Apr / May-Aug / Sep-Dec) but if you look, that is 3 slipcases, not 6 as you have stated you would need for each year (unless you are putting only 2 issues per slipcase. I think you may have made a mathematical error. So it would only cost you half the amount you stated. You did say "for the sake of uniformity" , which I would take to mean not splitting up years into cases, e.g. end of one year sharing with beginning of the next. As long as only one year is placed in a group of cases, be it 2 cases (6 issues per) or 3 cases (4 issues per) or even 4 cases (3 issues per) then it would be uniformed. Just my opinion.
You could also purchase the 1950's dated slipcases (already the appropriate size for the thicker 1920's issues) and place the labels on them.
Many ways to skin.... whatever the problem is.
I chose the label machine with black background and gold lettering/numbering to continue my collection backwards. When I got to the red brick issues (other than volume 6 which had too many issues) I found the map slip cases worked well (with every issue placed into and archival sleeve before being placed in the NG brown leather slip cases.
A close up example of the labels: