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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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Hi Mel,

  I have a prity nice March that seems to have it atached. I'm surprised you do not have one but I know certain issue can be realy tough. Are you aware of the November 1917 issues? Earlier variations do not surprise me but that one did. Keep up the good wook. Mike O


Yes Mike that is one of the issues that has eluded me, especially since some sellers post the map with the April issue, not the March issue (where I believe it was in the original).

Thank you for your input on this, yet another confirmation it was issued in the March magazine.

With respect to the Nov 1917 issue, are you referring to the waterproof Army/Navy special issue with the back cover the same as the front cover?


Hi Mel,

  The 1917 regular issue has a version where the inside cover page just says November 1917. A customer from North Dakota asked about it a few times untill I went to my box of coverless 1917's and found two. I couldn't beleave it. I have found three since but only one with a nice cover.

  I would not be surprised if the society, in regards to the mineral map, might have not had enough maps might have shiped the supplement with some issues in March and some in April. I see the Centenial Index has it listed as in the April issue and the 1978 Smith price guide has it in March for another reference example that more people would have on hand.

  Keep up the good work Mel. You can't have too many Geos.

Mike O

Actually Mike, I've located at least five different formats for the October 1917 issue.

One I'm not sure wasn't something someone glued together from a couple of different magazines, however, the other four appear to be a composite of the Special Issue and/or a reorganized original format where the ads are in a different order or altogether different than the original issue.

I have heard of the variant you write about, but have never physically seen one - that makes six variants for this one issue (counting the special edition).

I was able to put my hands on three of the five I have found and they are identical, Though one has no cover. I have never spent a lot of time looking for variations but I do own a smattering of foreign issues and a brail issue, more for conversation than collecting.

   I keep track of sales on ebay for the trends of pricing and noticed a couple weeks ago a set of 1898's were sold and April was sold for $1000+ because it had the Alaska supplement but in an envelope and March had a Frontice of A.G.Bell which rings a bell with me but I only have my bound reprints here for the whole Vol. I can't stand the idea that I need to wait till Monday to go to my arcive to check which issue I have it with but I sure thought there was a reference to Frontice of Bell on the cover?

  I realy apritiate your getting me excited about my collecting again. For the last three years I was concentrating on selling. I have been collecting for quite awhile and never stop finding new interesting asspects of the society's magazines. I know I will be looking at Nov/Dec. 1917 a little harder now. Keep collecting!!! Mike O

Hi Mel and Mike,

I have two fine copies of the March 1898 issue, neither of which has the map supplement you refer to (and never would have had). However, my only April issue has this map (Plate 4) glued into the front of that issue (original glue). Notwithstanding Mike's observation that he has the map in the March issue, I believe that Buxbaum was incorrect. It would only have made sense for NG to issue the map in the April issue which was dedicated to Alaska, and named the 'KLONDIKE NUMBER'.

I suspect part of the answer to this riddle has to do with the Volume Cumulative Index for Volume IX. Nathan reports (page 6) that this index was part of December issue, but it is unclear whether this is strictly correct. Neither of the two copies I have of the December issue has this Volume Cumulative Index, but I do have a loose version that was clearly never stapled or glued and therefore was never part of the bound December issue. It's possible that it was slipped into the issue as a loose item, but the NGS were fond of gluing or stapling all supplements in those early days. The Cumulative Indexes for 1900 and 1905 were issued to members on request to the NGS, so I suspect was the 1898 index.  There may be a published note to this effect in a subsequent 1899 issue, but I cannot find it.. Incidentally, Nathan was also wrong regarding Volume VII's Cumulative Index.

Buxbaum was noted for his penchant for binding all the issues of each volume into book form, which the magazines were specifically designed for. He is likely to simply have referred to the Cumulative Index for that volume regarding the map and may have simply mistaken which issue the reference to the plate corresponded to. Page 105 is the first page of the April issue. Nathan, on the other hand focussed on individual issues and is likely to have got his reference to the map from looking at the April issue.

Thank you for your input Dale.

Just as I was beginning to lean back towards Buxbaum, you enter the fray with additional insight that makes it seem more logical for the April issue to be "the one!"

I just can't figure someone like Buxbaum not catching this mistake over 50 years of publication for his collector's guide - and the guy was old enough to have spoken to some who actually knew.

And yes, both Nathan and Buxbaum have errors in their publications about NG collecting - but that is bound to happen with so much data and so little record keeping, especially during the early years, by the NGS.

Mike just might be correct in that perhaps the NGS distributed a non-NGS map with both issues (until they ran out), but I suspect we'll truly never know.

For me, that's what makes collecting these magazines so interesting.

On a related topic, the annual indexes are also part of this problem:

Nathan got the 1896 index publication issue wrong and Buxbaum, who really didn't believe in the annual indexes and only touched upon the subject, merely stated the early indexes (through 1909) were published in the last issue of the volume.

I have loose copies of the 1888 and 1889 Title Page, Contents, Illustrations and Index (purchased from Nick Koopman) that appear to have never been stapled or glued. In other words, they appear as loose paper supplements to the volume (just like those for the 1900 and 1905 volumes). That would mean Nathan got those wrong also - since he indicated on his check list they were published in the December issue and specifically stated the 1900 and 1905 Indexes were paper supplements.

If they both got the indexes wrong, they could surely miss one map supplement. But then, there's the glue for your April issue - there's nothing wrong with that.

Dale - I've got a smirk on my face right now with all the what-ifing. I'm going to mark it down as an either/or right now and keep an open mind.

I've enjoyed the intrique!


Hi Mel,

I have the loose 1898 index, but the 1899 index was bound into the back of the December 1899 issue. Your loose 1899 version must have been an additional print by the NGS. However, I note that in their 1899 magazines, they periodically advertised unbound single issues for sale for $1.50, or 25c for individual unbound articles.

Given that many of us have extensive catalogues based on Buxbaum and Nathans' references, it might be a worthwhile exercise to use this forum to highlight errors in those references so we can get our own catalogues correct. I'd be interested to hear what else you know in this regard. Cheers.

Further to my comments above, it should be noted that the NGS promoted the Klondike Number on the rear cover of the January through to June 1899 NGM issues, specifically indicating that the map was included. The only acceptable evidence that this map might also have been included in some copies of the March 1898 issue is to find a copy with the map glued in with original glue.


My open mind just closed!

The "April" issue it is!

I will try again to locate my notes on Buxbaum's discrepancies. I put together a list several years ago when I visited a fellow collector. I wanted to confer with this collector on my notes. For the life of me, I haven't been able to find that list since that visit. What I remember as the most significant discrepancy was a correction Buxbaum made in his last edition of a previous error. As it turned out - the correction was also wrong.

Take care!


Dale, here's a recent item I've been working on:

Atlas Map Folio (1958):

Beginning with January 1958 the NGS issued Folio supplements as part of their magazine issue. The collector would purchase the empty Folio, with a mostly complete Table of Contents listing on the inside of the front board, and would glue the maps issued with the magazines into the Folio. The Society continued this in earnest until about 1965 when things kind of flickered out without completion of the project. Some “blank” spaces were filled, most were not. In addition, at least one “listed” supplement was never issued, or at least not labeled as such.

Both Nathan and Buxbaum (3rd edition) addressed the Folio supplements in their respective guides, and both had some discrepancies.

One such discrepancy is the July 1963 Plate #15 issue of the Greater New York area.

Nathan does not include this item, whereas Buxbaum identifies the “duplicate” plate number with the July 1960 map of Hawaii. He notes that the Plate labels were intended “only” for those maps to be included in the Folio and suggests this map belongs in the Folio.

Another such discrepancy is Plate #63, listed in the published Table of Contents but never “officially” published/issued. Again, Nathan does not address this. Buxbaum notes the October 1967 supplement of the Indian Ocean (the listing in the Table of Contents) is the appropriate size for the Folio and should therefore be the map inserted in this reserved spot.

I would suggest there is one other map (exception) that fits into the Folio, but it came after Buxbaum’s 3rd edition was published. That would be the October 1971 Arctic Ocean map. It fits into the one blank space under The Oceans.

Both Buxbaum and Nathan listed those supplements that were used to “fill” several of the blank lines in the Table of Contents. Nathan went so far as to indicate which blank lines were never filled (notwithstanding the three {possible} exceptions noted in the discussion above).



Hi Mel,

Attached is an Excel list of the World Atlas Series plates that were published for the 1958 Atlas Folio. Please double check for any possible errors. Also, take a look at:

I assume NGS left blanks in the Table of Contents to give them some flexibility to include maps not yet planned.

It seems that the NGS decided to time the issue of the Greater New York map to coincide with the World's Fair held in New York. The July 1964 magazine has an article on this map and clearly calls it the first of the US Atlas Series. This was to be an extensive series, but only three maps in the series were produced, to be replaced by the Close-Up USA series from March 1973.

One can only surmise that the Atlas Plate #15 designation on the Greater New York map was an NGS error/oversight, compounded by the printing on the front cover of that issue in bold red ink "Atlas Map Supplement: New York City", similar to the World Atlas Series supplements. However, the map is not of the standard 25" x 19" size of the World Atlas Series, so would not have suited the Atlas Folio. I don't have the actual map to hand to check this. It would also be unusual for this map to be part of the World Atlas Series as it would be the only map in the series of a city.

Only three map supplements that were not designated as World Atlas Series have ever been issued in the 25" x 19" format of the World Atlas Series: Indian Ocean/Floor, Pacific Ocean/Floor and Shakespeare's Britain.

Regarding Plate #63, I would agree with Buxbaum that the Indian Ocean map, issued Oct 1967, is the correct map. It may be missing the plate designation, but it is the correct size for the folio and matches the Table of Contents.  Equally, I would see the Pacific Ocean/Pacific Ocean Floor map issued Oct 1969 as the contender for #64 to complete the run of ocean floor maps, although I concede that this would be a bit repetitious with #61. However, it is precisely the right size. The Arctic Ocean/Arctic Ocean Floor Oct 1971 map is also a possibility for #64 or #66, but according to Nathan it is half-an-inch off in both dimensions. Again, I don't have my maps to hand to double check.

I'll dig out my maps and Atlas Folio to check these matters when I can.






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