National Geographics to get rid of?

wantoretire_didSeptember 3, 2010

They may be so common that there is no interest, but figured if anyone knew the answer to this, I'd get it here :-)

DS has his DGM's collection of NG from 1934 to the 70s. Has anyone successfully donated these with any success? He hates to just throw them out if there is some organization, somewhere, who can use them.......

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Ask local libraries and schools ... a new school might love to get the back issues that are older than they are.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:23PM
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Do not throw them out. There could be some in there that are valuable. Some bookstores might want them -- they wont pay a lot but it's better than ditching them. Don't assume that the bookstore is taking advantage if they pay cheaply. Not all dealers are experts on National Geographic. At least that's how I understand it as we have a bookdealer in the family. She hasn't said anything about National Geographic but she just bought a bunch of books without looking at them carefully. In the bunch was a book worth 3,000. She learned the value as she was researching the books, one by one, after buying them.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 11:37PM
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LOL! You've got some of the 'good' ones. Dh and I were just having a 'back in my day' conversation with our 10 yo about how the older National Geographics had topless women in them.

I'd see if a library is having a book sale or maybe donate them to a church rummage sale. My local thrift store sells them, but not all thrift stores do.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 12:18AM
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National Geographic had a HUGE circulation from almost the very first (1888), so scarcity is not a factor.

Checking eBay ... certain issues seem to be doing OK, such as those from pre WWI. Most have no bids.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 10:17AM
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The NG Magazine is a good read and a wonderful magazine and probably the one people have the biggest problem in disposing of. If all the saved copies were put in one pile, the earth would tilt off its axis.

Some of the original very early magazines - before they contained photographs - were reprinted. These are identified as "Reprints" and have no more value than a magazine printed today... unless there's someone out there who didn't get one and has to have one. A very few selected newer magazines have also been reprinted and are clearly marked as such. The Society itself has an ample supply of all its magazines and did (and probably still does) sell uncirculated magazines but at a price much higher than one could expect, in their wildest dreams, to get from a book/magazine dealer.

Libraries, schools, hospitals all seem to have more than they can handle. Let your kids cut them up for school projects, frame some of the old Coca Cola ads for your family room, or throw them in the recycling bin. It's a magazine, not some sacred trust to fight over in the divorce settlement.

I've heard this all before so I kind of chuckle... this august Society sends me my pension check every month.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 1:45PM
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I would feel as good taking them to a recycling center if the school or library didn't need them. A friend of mine sold his old video games in a live auction. He kept one box and turned the images into coasters.

I recall an episode of some TV show (Roadshow, Pawn Stars, Hoarders, etc.) where the expert mentioned how often people hold on to magazine collections in hopes of cash value, though 99% of the time the value is sentimental. Rarity, celebrity, history seem to be the three guiding principles.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 8:30AM
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Most libraries have a little piece of paper taped up by the phone for their staff to see that says, "We take magazine donations but NOT National Geographic or Reader's Digest."

They get their own copy.

And they have THOUSANDS of people like you calling to try to donate the NatGeo's they've saved.

Also, magazines are inefficient sources of information for research. Other than the one rare situation in which someone has done enough research to want to look up that particular article, there are subject-specific books that let people get more authoritative information much more rapidly.

That's because magazines have scattered subject matter. Each issue has lots of different topics. Books are focused and specific.

Also, magazines just aren't reference material. They're articles, journalism, entertainment.

I absolutely WOULD throw them out.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 10:40AM
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I had a big pile of NGs that I had been moving around for years. I finally decided I had to get rid of them right away and realized what everyone is saying here. I brought them to my kids' school and I believe they cut them up for picutres - which was fine with me. My mom was an art teacher and used mag. pictures all the time. It was more use than they had gotten in years! I also donated a HUGE pile of shoeboxes that they also used. They used to ask the kids to bring in shoeboxes for projects once in a while, so I would save them. Then, cleaning out the closed I found about 30 of them. Enough for a class - they seemed happy to get them.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 2:37PM
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The only time I've been asked for mag donations was from a friend who goes to the VA Hospital...lots of waiting room time & no funds to supply new reading materials in the waiting rooms. They made it clear they were NOT looking for collections or massive quantities...they wanted some current things covering various interests to accommodate different people.

As for the "collection" and maybe some peace of mind for $value$, I would make 1 quick phone call to the local library. Then make 1 quick phone call to the local Used/Rare book store. If anyone gives a positive response on specific issues, then act on those specifics.

Otherwise recycle/toss the rest with peace of mind (and enthusiasm!)

NG mag is one where so many people have saved them, and the die-hard collectors already have what they need. Same with Playboy. A modern-day example would be Martha Stewart Living. People save these things because they were/are beautifully photographed, paper is glossy & higher quality, they look and feel substantial & expensive. Despite all that, they are just paper...and they are a cultural snapshot of that moment of time.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:11AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

BF proudly told me recently that he had taken his old Playboys and some other old magazines and thrown them in the paper recycle dumpster. I mentioned to him that it probably felt good getting rid of them and that someone likely dug the Playboys out of the dumpster. He agreed with me and we had a good chuckle.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 2:12PM
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As others have said Nat Geo has always had a huge circulation, so copies aren't rare. You might find a buyer in the rare book market if you had a complete set from the very beginning in mint condition, especially if all copies are in original packaging.

There's a set from 1909 to 2008 on the market right now for a little over 6000 USA. The seller is dreaming. The set isn't worth that, so it isn't selling.

If you can sell it at all, $0.50 to $1.00 per volume is about the best you can do unless the volume is signed by someone very famous related to the content of the volume. Forgeries are common, so that's a tough market, too.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Schools don't want back issues. The older ones could be sold, either on ebay or to places that buy old magazines--prop shops in Hollywood do buy these sorts of things.

Check the price guides.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amazon price guides

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:21PM
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What about donating them to a community-based ESL program? Perhaps those immigrants would appreciate having interesting material in English to ready at home, with beautiful pictures as well.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:12AM
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I've just been recycling our NG mags as I find them stashed around the house. Have no idea why they're in so many different places.

By the way, NG catalog is selling a 121 year collection of the mag on 6 DVD-Roms for $80 ($70 on sale), so if people really wanted the info, etc. this would be a compact way of collecting. Saves lots of space.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:20PM
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I agree with the idea of checking with an art teacher in the schools systems. We have an organization where I live called Crayons to Computers and lots of "odd" things get donated there. Teachers from the area are able to go there and get what they may need for class projects, the art teachers especially - can't have too may packing peanuts, magazines for pictures and buttons as far as the young artists are concerned. Just my thoughts.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:40PM
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