National Geographic's Collectors Corner

Collaborative site for collectors, dealers, & anyone interested in our history.

The site owners have put together a detailed inventory list catagorizing the National Geographic Magazine.

For those who do not wish to develop and maintain their own spreadsheet this is an excellent and simple tool to use.

I'd recommend it:

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Replies to This Discussion

I agree with you 100% for the Magazine, Mel.  However, for the Maps & Supplements it still needs a little work.  Considering the complexity of the site, though, it really brings home your collections in a very visual way.  Bottom line, I use the site and enjoy doing so, but I still keep my trusty worksheets. - Tom

You're right Tom, and my spreadsheets have considerably more "personalized" information.

I do see the possibility of using the site as a selling tool, i.e. listing quantity/condition of issues available - just haven't gotten around to putting the effort into it.

With the Maps & Supplements I sense there are just too many variables to make it such that it satisfies the dedicated collector. Examples: If the picture/map is barely tipped into the magazine (as the old ones were) is it still a loose supplement? How about if it is actually bound into the magazine as a three foot foldout? A lot of the "old" supplements fit this category, but then, here lately, the NGS has made considerable use of foldouts bound into the magazine. And what about all those older plates bound into the red bricks - some are significant in size?

Tom, thanks for the comments (and for the notes you've been posting at XYZ) -- I'm glad you like the site, and I'd be very interested to know what could be done to improve it.  You mention possible improvements to the site for supplements -- could you give me some examples of what it could do better?

I'm not a National Geographics expert, as Mel and Philip can testify -- they were both very patient with me, explaining my errors and clarifying various points on which I was confused.  I'm a magazine collector, and I do subscribe to NG, but most of what I know about its history I learned while setting up the collection on XYZ.  (I collect pulp magazines myself.)  The list of supplements was obtained from Philip and Mel, but it was difficult to determine what to include -- loose supplements, or foldouts, or both?  Eventually I decided to stick with loose supplements only but I see from your note at XYZ that the August 2000 Olympics supplement should be removed from that list, so I'll go ahead and delete it.  If you spot any other errors in the list, please let me know.

Mike, I didn't mean for you to delete the Sidney Olympics map.  It has perfs and is designed to be removed.  It is your site, however, and you can do what you want.  I used it as an example of supplements that aren't technically loose but I would still consider a legit supplement.  As a matter of fact, I was going to suggest another item that was DESIGNED to be removed.  The Jan. 1964 issue has a plaque in memory of JFK.  It is hard cardboard and suitable for framing.


The item you are referring to in the January 1964 issue eludes me. I have eight copies of the January 1964 issue and none have a (thicker than normal) page with JFK’s portrait suitable for framing.

All of them do have: A bound (normal) page 1A/1B (obviously, just in front of page 1) where page 1A has JFK sitting behind his desk and the title above the picture “To the Memory of Our Beloved President Friend to All Mankind.” The bottom of the picture is labeled, “1917  John Fitzgerald Kennedy  1963”.

Is this the portrait of which you are referring?

If so, it is my opinion this is not suitable for inclusion in the loose supplement inventory.



Mel, thanks for correcting me.  You are right and my memory is not.  I should always have the issue in hand before I go spouting something that is obviously in error.  I remembered the picture and remember an issue with a thicker cardboard page and, in my mind, I guess I combined the two.

BTW, in the Wikipedia entry for National Geographic there is a link to NatGeo Covers.  This page was included as an additional cover and I guess that's why it stuck in my mind as something special.

Again thanks for the correction and sorry for the mistake.

Just a heads up.  The Feb. 1981 En ergy & Nov. 1993 Water special issues of National Geographic have been added to XYZ.  Also both the magazine and supplement sections have been updated thru Aug. 2012.

First: I like to apologize to Mike for my non-existing plaque from 1964.  This is one reason I wanted the discussion here where it could include more people with alot more expertise than me.  Thanks again, Mel, for catching my mistake so fast.

Second: Again I hope Mike will not remove the Olympics supplement from XYZ because of something I said.  Afterall, it was "red-lettered" on that issue as a supplement.

Lastly: The main reason for this post is to see if by using our combined knowledge we can come to some concensus on any additions, adjustments, and subtractions to the XYZ Supplement collection template.  I know page foldouts are to be excluded, as they should be, but there are at least a few items not in this category that are not in the XYZ.  Does anyone want to suggest one and we can discuss the pros and cons.


With all due respect for Mel, I take the wide view that supplements can be loose and attached. Mel takes the narrower view that true supplements must be detached from the magazine. Most lists of supplements I've found  and sales on E-Bay seem to support my wider view.On the other hand the National Geographic's Society's idea of a supplement seems to follow  Mel's view.

Actually Philip, my view is a bit complicated, and I did discuss it (my view) with Mike.

Basically, if removing the supplement does not "damage (2nd priority)" the magazine "AND" it is larger than the printed page (top priority) I consider it qualified to be a "loose" supplement, but this is an inconsistent definition as you will see.

Part of my reasoning for “larger than the printed page” is because so many of these tipped-in, bound in, or truly loose supplements were removed from the old magazines. Finding them complete with said supplement is much more difficult than finding them without so I maintain a spreadsheet identifying these particular items for quick reference allowing me to ask the specific question, is so-and-so larger than the printed page included?

But to complicate things some "teens" foldouts that actually fit the larger than printed page but do in-fact damage the issue upon removal, such as Sherman's Tree, were so often "removed" that complete issues have been more difficult to locate have therefore “forced me” to include them as part of my loose supplement list (**but see below**).

The old "tipped-in" supplements essentially fit this requirement, though to be exact, the small amount of glue always removed some material from the inside of the magazine. So do they really qualify?

I acknowledged with Mike that the definition of loose supplement has as many variants as there are collectors and I understood his definition, whichever one he chose, would be debated.

An example I gave him was the recent flurry of multi-page foldouts (**see above**). Some of these were bound in the center and folded out from both sides. Some were bound by one edge and folded out two times; three times; or four times. Some were perforated, most were not. Some were identified by red titles on the binding, most were not (note – there are two “never attached” loose supplements in the early 2000’s that were never identified in red on the bindings.)

So what truly qualifies a foldout for inclusion as a loose supplement? Once you decide about the recent past, you must go back in time and apply your definition to every single issue (if you wish to be consistent, but not a problem if you don't mind being inconsistent like me).

The standards of today won’t quite mesh with the standards of yesterday.

One could argue that an inventory (especially one used for advertising – say for sales) should apply the “loosest” definition to be the most inclusive, and then the collector would be free to describe his/her reasons for not having it.

As you can see, the task becomes extremely difficult, especially if you wish to make "all of us picky collectors happy."

I don’t envy Mike his task – but I’m going to stick with my spreadsheet. It’s got exactly what I want in it, consistent or not, and I don’t have to explain it to anyone. (That’s meant to be humorous…)

Thanks for this discussion -- very helpful.  I have some comments, and a question.

First, Tom, I don't currently include the Olympics supplement.  I haven't deleted it - I went and looked for it when this discussion came up and unless I put it out of the correct date order, it's not in the list right now.  I can easily add it, and will do so if there's a consensus to do so.

Second, I want to make sure that it's understood that any mistakes in that collection are my fault -- I assembled it with a lot of help from Mel and Philip, who are much more knowledgeable than I am -- as I said, I'm a magazine collector but not an NG collector.

As far as the XYZ website is concerned, the goal is to put collections up on the website that are useful to collectors.  There's nothing to stop us having twenty different versions of the supplements collection, if that would be helpful.  Mel has given some examples above of the different ways one could view this.  For example, suppose you wanted to collect a copy of every single issue of National Geographic that had something other than the normal pages -- if you wanted to include every loose supplement, every foldout, every glued supplement?  We could create a collection for that.  We could also create a separate collection for the foldouts -- we could call it "National Geographic bound supplements", for example.

From XYZ's point of view, we know we're not experts on every magazine so we would like to hear from each collecting community what it is that they would like to be able to keep track of (and see price history of, and so on).  But we don't have to stick with just one version of the collection; we can create different versions for different needs.  That's really a goal of the website -- we want to make it fit collectors' needs, not the other way round.

For foldouts, specifically, here are some thoughts and a couple of questions.  Let's say we create a collection of every issue with a foldout, and we note in the description whether it was a perforated or unperforated foldout.  Then a collector might want to collect those.  Now, when they click on the "Include" button to say they have the April 1916 issue (Sherman's Tree), we can set it up to indicate that they own the issue, or they just own the supplement -- even if it's an unperforated foldout, since those were sometimes removed too.

There are a couple of different reasons collectors like to keep lists of what they have.  One is to track what they have and see what they still need to get.  Another is the pleasure of having the list and seeing it grow towards 100%. With XYZ, we also hope people will enjoy the visual aspect of the site -- they can send links to friends and family to show off what they have.  If having another collection of foldouts or any other subsidiary list would be useful for any reason, we'd be happy to create it.

I should also mention that we will soon (this year, I hope) be allowing users to create their own collections (of anything they like), so you can design your own collections (e.g. bound volumes of NG, or reprint issues).  But we can also create those collections for you if you want.

Sorry, I probably went on too long, but I hope some of the above is helpful.


To Mike: Of course I would like the Aug. 2000 Olympics included.  It is flagged in red as a supplement, but again it is your call.  To be consistant though, if you choose not to include it,  the 3 records and the 3-D glasses should probably go since they are "attached" in some way.

To Mel: Just out of curiousity, which 2 supplements from the 2000's were not flagged in red?

As for the last item in my previous post, I only had one or two items that I thought might qualify as legitimate suplements.  My fav is the March 28, 1891 South America map.  My reasons are as follows: 1) its location in the magazine (right after the cover before the first page); 2) the paper stock is different than that of the pages in the issue; 3) it is not bound into the issue, but only attached by the staples; and 4) it is brightly colored having the "look and feel" of a NatGeo wall map.

Any comments?  I don't mind being shot down.  This is a learning experience for me.




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