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Variations to the Covers of the National Geographic


On the very first bullet of suggested topics for this group, Ephemera & Collectibles ~ odds n’ ends, Scott lists NGM variants.  I’ve decided to take a stab at it, although I’m sure my list is far from complete.

First a disclaimer: I am NOT going to list issues with/without the red TV advertisement banners from the ‘60s, barcodes for newsstand issues, or additional advertisements like the October 2013 “Free Poster” which was only on newsstands.

With that being said, let me proceed with what I’ve got so far.

I. July 1889

Two versions of the July 1889 (Vol. 1, No. 2) issue of NGM as per Buxbaum (1971) page 77.  Photos courtesy of Jim Persons.

II. April 1905

This is the, now famous “red covered” reprint of the very popular Philippines number.  Both Buxbaum and Nathan have documented this cover variant.  Membership grew from 3,400 in January 1905 to 11,000 by the end of the year in large part to the popularity of this issue.  While additional production runs usually use the same stock, this may have been a “kill two birds with one stone” moment that allowed the disposal of some leftover, red stock from 1903.

III. February 1915

This is the “Town of Many Gables” issue, but is it Hildesheim or Munster?  The article is about Munster so that answers the question.  I can find no documentation from any source about this variant so I'm claiming this “discovery” as my own.  (Hold the applause, just send money.)

IV. January 1916

The January 1916 issue was so popular that the Society reprinted it with a notice across the top margin that reads "SPECIAL REPRINT".

V. January 1917

The first cover lists three articles, the second one has four.  The additional article, "100 British Seaports" does appear in both versions.  It was just skipped on the cover until the error was caught.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

VI. March 1927

Does the second article have 18 or 17 "Natural Color Photographs"?  The answer is 17.  This means the erroneous "18" version came first. It was followed, mid production run, with the corrected "17" version.  Image courtesy Jeff Persons.

VII. May 1928

This is known as the "Acorn Issue".  Mid production run, the border was changed not only upping the number of acorns, but also changing the globes.  Notice Antarctica.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

VIII. February 1946

Notice the two different banners at the top of each cover.  One mentions the Map of the Western Hemisphere and the other an ad for U.S. Victory Bonds.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons

IX. October 1974

One version has the South Central States supplement map advertised in a red banner across the top   of the cover. The other version does not.  One version has the South Central States map listed in red on the spine.  The other version does not.  You would think that it would be an either/or situation here, but you would be wrong.  One version has both has both map citations and the other has neither,

X. December 1974

One of these issues was stamped for the fifteenth anniversary of the RRD North Plant on November 15, 1974.  It is not known how many were printed.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XI. September 1977

My knowledge of this variant, with green borders instead of yellow is thanks to Jeffry Persons who has posted a discussion on it right here in this group.  It is an interesting read and I’d recommend it.  Thanks Jeff!  It is a cover-only variant, they were bound with random pages, thus not a true issue.  I must confess I do not have this variant in my collection.  I just had fun modifying my image with Microsoft Paint.

XII. March 1984

The cover used has a hologram of an eagle, the other, which was ready for use if the holographic cover wasn't ready, has a photograph from China.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XIII. December 1988

The holographic globe issue.  But which foil to use?  Silver or Gold?  Gold proved better.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XIV. November 1999

The newsstand version of this issue has an attached strip and a different format of the contents.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XV. May 2000

Newsstand copy has an attached flap and different formatting of the content.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XVI. July 2000

Newsstand copy has an attached flap and differently formatted contents on the cover.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XVII. December 2001

Another cover flap and alternate formatting on the newsstand version.  Image Courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XVIII. November 2003

This issue had two different newsstand covers.  In addition, the newsstand copy that has the same cover image as the subscription copy has a different content format.  Perhaps to make room for the barcode.  Images courtesy of Jeff Persons.

. October 2005

This pair was posted way back on April 7, 2011 by Ricardo Tavares Dias.  The "Nelson at Trafalgar" cover is actually the UK version of the magazine while the "Killer Flu" cover is the US/Canada one. (Not in My Collection)

XX. January 2006

This is another example of where the newsstand cover is completely different from the subscription issue's.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XXI. May 2006

This issue had two different covers: one for subscription members and another for the newsstand.  Apparently the newsstand version was used to help advertise the TV special on the NGC titled “The Gospel of Judas”.  Thanks go out to Philip Riviere for pointing this one out to me.

XXII. March 2007

Here, the newsstand and subscription covers have the same photo but different formatting and verbage.  Image courtesy of Jeff Persons.

XXIII. August 2007

This alternate, newsstand cover about post-Katrina New Orleans was pointed out to me by JB Penn.  It was a limited run, just for that region of the country.  The subscription version, and apparently most of the newsstand copies were about the Maya. (Not in My Collection)

XXIV. April 2008

Still another example of where the newsstand cover is modified from the subscription one. Image courtesy Abramo Russo.

XXV. December 2010

First version has barcode, a flap, and King David title on the right-hand side.  Second version has the flap and right-hand side title but no barcode.  Third version has no flap, no barcode, a the King David title on the left-hand side.

XXV. April 2011

The newsstand version of this issue has an attached strip with a Volcano picture and blurb instead of the table of contents.  It superimposes half of the Inca cover photo, is lighter and is easily removed.  The Inca photo underneath does NOT have the Table of Contents like the subscription version.  This pair is courtesy of Abramo Russo.

XXVI. May 2013

The cover states “This baby will live to be 120” and has a picture of said baby.   There are FOUR versions of this cover, one for each major ethnic group in this country.  Philip Riviere has a photo album containing all four, and a fifth one on a Mexican NGM.

XXVII. April 2015

This is cheating a little bit.  The Hubble cover is from the UK magazine and not the US one.  When Thierry Lombry posted it, I just had to get one.  It was delivered on April 24th, the 25th anniversary of the Hubble’s launch.  All the articles are the same but the advertisements are British.

XXVIII. March 2016

Here's another subscription vs. newsstand variant.  This one for March 2016.  Photos courtesy of Abramo Russo.

XXIX. April 2016

The Society pulled out all the stops for this issue with ten different covers.  The theme is "The Photo Ark: One man's quest to document the world's animals, one picture at a time".  This entry is thanks to Scott Shier and Philip Riviere.

XXX. January 2017

There are two distinct covers on "Gender Identity" for this issue.  Image was found by Scott Shier.

XXXI. February 2017

As with January 2017, there are two covers: one for subscribers and the other for newsstands.  While the subscriber's cover is more eco-conscious, the newsstand cover plies the buyer with alcohol.

XXXII. March 2017

What seems to be a standard practice, when the covers use the same image, the subscriber's copy has minimal writing beyond the banner, while the newsstand's version has bold headlines.  This newsstand copy happens to be the Spanish version, the U.S./Canada headline reads "Vikings".

XXXIII. April 2017

As with last month, the subscription and newsstand covers are different with the newsstand version including bold headlines.  Photos courtesy of Scott Shier.

XXXIV. May 2017

The U.S./Canadian newsstand version has the word "GENIUS" in large letters on it much like the Croatian version shown here.  Photo courtesy of Abramo Russo.

XXXV. July 2017

Again, the newsstand has a eye-catching "Secret Antarctica" on the cover that is not needed on the subscription version.

March 2018

This is a good one from Jeff Persons.  The one on the left is the subscription (and newsstand) copy.  The one on the right is a mystery.  My first guess was the UK version which seems to be the case.  (Advertisement prices are in Pounds.)

May 2018

The May 2018 cover has the same variants between the subscription issue and the newsstand issue in that the subscription cover has the artwork with very small writing whereas the newsstand one has a large, eye-catching title, in this case "Picasso".  As with several earlier issues this is a tie-in with the Nat Geo Channel (Second season of "Genius").

June 2018

The June 2018 newsstand cover again has the large, bold title "Planet or Plastic" printed on the image along with additional writing.  The subscription cover has a minimal title and much less other text leaving the image more pristine.

July 2018

Continuing the trend of have a large, eye-catching title on the newsstand cover while leaving the photo pretty much pristine on the subscription cover; the July 2018 issue is entitled "Building a Better Athlete".

August 2018

The August 2018 issue continues what seems to be standard operating procedure with the subscription version's cover having minimum verbiage while the newsstand copies having a large headline and contents documented as well.

October 2018

After a one-month hiatus, the October 2018 has the bold heading on the newsstand copy but not the 

subscription one.  Also shown are the American newsstand version as opposed to the one from Spain.

Tom Wilson

Views: 562

Replies to This Discussion

Note: I just added a citation for the January 2017 upcoming "Gender" issue.

Note: I just added an entry to this list for the February 2017 subscription vs. newsstand covers of National Geographic.

Note: I just added an entry for the May 2017 subscription versus newsstand covers.  Photo courtesy of Abramo Russo.

Note: I just added an entry to this list for the subscription vs. newsstand versions of the July 2017 NGM cover.

Note: I just added two entries for the NGM March and April 2017 (both subscription vs. newsstand).

Thanks, Scott.

Note: I just added a citation for the January 1916 issue: original and special reprint.  Images courtesy of Jeff Persons.

Note: I just added a citation for the July 1889 (Vol. I, No. 3) issue variants noted by Buxbaum (1971) page 77.  Images courtesy of Jim Persons.

Note: I just added a citation for the October 1974 NGM cover and spine variations.

Note: I just added a citation for the December 2010 National Geographic Magazine's cover variants.  Images courtesy of Jeff Persons.

Note: I just added an entry for the US vs. UK versions of the March 2018 "Astronauts" (or is it Cosmos) issue.

Note: I just added an entry for the subscription vs. newsstand covers of the May 2018 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Note: I just added a citation for the  differences between the subscription vs. newsstand covers on the June 2018 National Geographic.



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