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Please Help - National Geographic bound years - are these reprints or originals 1897 - 1907

Hi All,

I am actually just kindly asking for some advice, I have bound volumes of National Geographic from 1897 to 1907. I am finding it very hard to tell if they are reprints or originals

Any info would be gratefully received. 

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From a cursory glace at your images, I would say they are originals.  The 1964 reprint set had different binding.

The 1964 reprints also have the covers and advertisements included in the binding.  If yours don't. they're probably originals.

Also, issues from 1901 on are 7" by 10".  Before 1901 they were smaller, around 6 3/8" by 9 1/2".  All 1964 reprint, even for years earlier than 1901 are 7" by 10".  If your pre-1901 volumes are smaller than your post ones, they are likely originals.

I hope this helps.

Tom Wilson

Hi Tom,

Thank you so much for your reply. The bound edition of 1899 measures just under 6 inches wide and  a little over 9 long. None of the bound volumes i have are 7 by 10 so it looks like they are original. I thank you!, i have been researching for days with little outcome so thats great Tom

Kind regards



This is a copy of what I sent you by email (with grammatical corrections I failed to make), perhaps others can comment based on their experiences.

Bottom Line: They appear to be authentic originals.


Older browning paper versus glossy (reprint paper).


A telltale sign of reprints that have been rebound without their covers is that they are uniform (from 1888 through 1907) and relatively new in appearance, i.e. identical bindings.

Some collectors simply want their library to be uniform. Some, unfortunately, may actually wish to deceive the unsuspecting buyer by removing the cover pages and cutting the reprints down to match "originals" in size.


The fact that all these volumes are of dissimilar binding (in addition to browning paper) indicate they were collected as they became available to the individual who collected them. Without personal observation and physically touching the paper I would say I’m 80 to 85 % certain these are originals.


Another indicator would be the size/cut of the earlier volumes 1888 (Volume I) through 1900 (Volume XI). These issues were smaller in dimensions, the reprints were not. The size of the margin is a dead give-away (but often enough this difference is accounted for by forgers). Your earlier volumes (except for XI, which is close enough to appear the same size as the later volumes once bound) appear to be the correct size/cut for originals.


Unfortunately this is not the time to be selling for maximum results. As an example, an 1898 (Volume IX) with most covers and ads bound within, just sold for $356. Just a few years ago this would sell for more than $600. And my highest example is $1,245.00. Only if your copy has all the supplements do I believe you might receive $250.00. Without the supplements, expect far less.


I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other NGM questions you might have.




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