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Plate IV, Volume IX, in the Table of Contents under Illustrations, plate 4 is shown to be page 105.

Page 105 is the first page of the April issue. It therefore makes sense this plate would be included in this issue.

However, the plate is not a National Geographic issued map, rather it was borrowed from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. The NGS stamped the maps with “Nat. Geog. Mag. VOL. IX, 1898, PL. 4.” when they were issued with the magazine.

Here’s the problem:

Was this plate issued with the March magazine or the April magazine?

At first blush, the April magazine had the articles of and related to Alaska mineral wealth. However, it would not be unusual for the NGS to publish a map or chart that seemed somewhat out of sequence with its magazines, especially since it was not an NGS production. The NGS would have issued the map when the Department of the Interior provided it.

Here’s why there is confusion:

Edwin C. Buxbaum and Roger E. Nathan (both deceased) were renowned authorities of all things NG Magazine, but they differ on which month this particular plate was issued.

Nathan, the younger of the two men, published, “Collectibles of the National Geographic Society,” where he provided a checklist that includes this plate as being issued with the April magazine.

Buxbaum, who had a long relationship with the management of the NGS, published a pamphlet in 1936 followed by three editions of Collector’s Guides in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In all four of his publications, he lists this plate as being issued with the March magazine, and implies one of the reasons the March magazine is so rare is because of the beautiful map issued with it. If this was an error, it was never caught over the nearly 50 years between all his publications, and he was known to correct information in succeeding issues of his guides.

Even though both men performed herculean feats in collating the information for the benefit of all NGS collectors, as more details have been uncovered in the massive amount of minute data over more than 120 years of publication, errors by both men in their respective publications have been discovered.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

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Hay Mel & Dale,

  I agree that logic says the Alaska map belonges to April and is very rare because they were caried to Alaska buy goldseekers and lost forever. Your discusion has caused a collector from Florida to come to my door to see my March issue. He a doctor in Marion Iowa and his associate in Texas have been fighting over it ever since. I apritiate all your enthousiasm but I need to use this logic. I do not think it could be as rare as these guys are sure it is because others who put great collections together have had reason to beleave it belonged to March.

  I think a more interesting subject is how rare is November 1917 compared to Nov/Dec 1917. I have found six amongst maby 100 yet no one seems to have seen one. Before every one gets excited I am refering to the inside cover page reading November 1917. I am guessing collectors have not noticed but I would realy like to know.

   Wouldn't it be nice if the real population of loose issues before April 1905 could be known?  Just a thought. Keep Collecting, Mike O


I did indeed find a November 1917 cover page in a magazine that is identical in every respect to the normal Nov/Dec 1917 issue (except this November copy is severely water damaged).

Amazing how little things like this are probably relearned and forgotten over the decades.

Thanks for bringing it to our attention!



I took the liberty of copying your xls spreadsheet on the Atlas Folio and made additions and other sundry edits to it, to include adding notes, references and some slight reformatting. I attempted to be diligent with collating the plate names with the actual maps and cross referencing Nathan and Buxbaum with the Table of Contents.

If you don't mind, could you provide input/critique at your leisure - just an earnest desire to get the details correct?

Thank you in advance for your time.




I discovered one small error under Note 2a in the spreadsheet.

The date of July 1963 should read July 1964.




I located my copies of the Atlas Folio and checked a few things. Attached is an updated version of the spreadsheet. I started adding comments in a new column, but felt this would just further confuse the issue for others, so I took the liberty of editing directly. Major modifications from the version you sent me include:

1. I removed the Shakespeare's Britain and Viet Nam map references. I don't believe that should be considered part of the Atlas Series. Similarly removed the Greater New York reference, but am less concerned whether others include this as #16. One of the copies of the Atlas Folio I have actually had this penned in as #16.

2. I now agree that the Arctic Ocean map should be considered as the missing plate #64, even if its dimensions are off by half-an-inch (I measured it) and it has no Atlas Plate identifier.

3. Made some minor changes to the notes. E.g. the first page inside the cover is a List of Map Plates, not a Table of Contents.

Regarding the Atlas Folio itself, I seem to have two versions. On the spine, in gold lettering, one has printed "Atlas Folio National Geographic Society" and an image of a map caliper. The other copy has a blank spine, which I am sure is original. Interested to hear from anyone who also has the latter version.



PS: Spreadsheet to follow

Spreadsheet attached



I surely appreciate the time you spent on this. I think the evidence is coming together strongly.

It appears I came to a conclusion much too soon on Nathan. More reading in his book uncovered some footnotes, of all things, that addressed some of our issues. Additionally, his checklist does what his (lack of) discussion under the Atlas Folio topic did not, i.e. his inventory lists without discussion the October 1967 map as Plate #63.

I’ve made the changes to Note 2 as appropriate and to the pages in Nathan’s reference.

I invite your critique once again. It can only make the final product better!

With respect to your comments above:

  1. I completely agree (all of) those maps do not belong in this Folio. I had them listed in deference to the man I acquired this incomplete Folio from more than 10 years ago. He had included them loosely before he passed away and I just felt like they should remain even as I completed the Folio. I’ll maintain my personal inventory and also a “master” inventory for those who would like the purity of the list.
  2. Ditto
  3. Good Catch – thank you!
  4. My version of Folio is of the former, and the only one I have dealt with.

Attached is the latest version of the MASTER…



Hi Mel,

Due to a quirk in the Collectors' Corner website that limits the nesting level of a discussion thread, I am compelled to post this here, when it should actually be at the end of the chain.

Regarding the latest Atlas Folio spreadsheet, nothing more to add or change. On this matter, our work here is done.....

This thread has covered three different issues, from the Mar/Apr 1898 supplement, the Nov 1917 issue (which I still don't understand) and the Atlas Folio.

If any of these matters continue to arise, or similar matters concerning NG collectibles, can I suggest they go in the 'Discussion' forum, not this "Buy and Sell' forum where they are likely to be lost.



Hello Dale I just wanted to say I really like your member photo - Brian

Oopps I meant the photo of the dogs sorry



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