Writing is one of my several hobbies, and lists like the one below help me with writer's block every now and again.
Magazines Are a Great Thing to Collect
Reading and collecting old magazines (versus reading on a computer screen) has a certain charm that can't be easily described to someone who didn't grow up before the age of the internet. My hope is that this article will help younger people discover the joy of the many amazing pulp magazine covers of the past and take the opportunity to peruse such periodicals, because it truly is a great way to relax while learning a little bit about the time the magazine was printed in.
Collecting vintage magazines is a great hobby that doesn't have to break the bank. With magazines, you usually don't have to worry about paying "mint condition" prices because they all have been read often. In fact, I would urge you to look for mags that are complete and readable, but very affordable due to their poor condition. You'll get a lot more joy out of them if you don't have to pay a lot. Enjoy the article.
The most valuable magazines are ones in really good condition; we're talking near-mint (NM) to mint, but the truth of the matter is that most older magazines you find are not going to be in any kind of high grade. If they are fine condition or better, then count yourself lucky. Magazines were read and read often back in the day; they were not placed in bags and boards to keep them in pristine shape. Even today, people rarely take care of magazines like they would take care of, say, comic books.
These Magazines Can Sell For A Lot of Money
The word "vintage" refers to an object that is from an earlier generation. Such objects often become very collectible as people age and long to remember and reconnect with their past. For example, I grew up during the 1980's, so I tend to lean towards collectibles from the 1980's.
Sadly, Ninja Magazine is no longer being made. As a youth, I can remember regularly buying issues at my local grocery store. The 1980s and 90s were all about ninjas, which is probably the only reason this magazine existed. Though it did contain some fiction, it was mostly made up of practical know-how from people who actually practiced ninjutsu. Finding back issues of this title is what made me want to start collecting magazines.
The horror magazine Rue Morgue is named after one of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and is one of the better magazines of the genre out there now. The covers can be a bit hit-or-miss, but the content is mostly solid; this magazine would make a great gift for any horror fan.
Some Men's Magazines to Remember
Eyeful Magazine was marketed towards men with its risqué content, using pin-up style covers and articles such as "Brunettes Preferred" to pique men's curiosity.
Las Chambeadoras Magazine
Las Chambeadoras Magazine is one that I recently discovered. I haven't been able to find any issues to buy, but they have some amazing covers. One warning... they are definitely for adults. I'm keeping my eyes open for them.
Lui was a French adult entertainment magazine whose original (and most successful) run began in 1963 and ended in 1987. The word lui means "him" in French. There was a second series that ran from 1987 to 1994 but was nowhere near as popular as the first.
Playboy is a magazine I rarely have a desire to own. Usually it's the cover and not the content that makes me want to get a certain issue. There's lots of value in old magazines and, to me at least, the earlier issues seemed to have a little more class than the most recent.
All Man was a 60s action and adventure magazine with covers to attract a male audience. The covers to these magazines are a bit hit-or-miss, but there are definitely some that I would like to have in my collection.
Cook's Illustrated Magazine has some of the most beautiful food covers you'll ever see, and pictures from the web don't do them justice. If you see them in person, you do take notice. There's also amazing interior artwork that is worthy of picture frames, in my opinion.
Famous Monsters of Filmland
Famous Monsters of Filmland is a great horror magazine that lasted from 1958 to 1983. I inherited the ones I have from my dad, and have tried to fill in the gaps to complete the collection. They are not so easy to find in really good condition (probably because people loved to read them).
Sports Magazines for the Sports Fan
Sports Illustrated Magazine
Sports Illustrated Magazine is a must for collectors if you're a sports fan. I love the covers that were clearly taken from actual games, especially from memorable games that I either watched on TV or in person.
Martial arts magazines were plentiful during the 80s and 90s, and Karate Illustrated was just one of many I used to buy on a semi-regular basis. One of the joys I get at looking through them nowadays is perusing the vintage magazine ads; you'll often find lots of interesting weapons you've never heard of or forgotten about completely.
ESPN Magazine has a lot of really cool covers, but the oversized shape of them makes me apprehensive about buying them. Finding bags and boards big enough to protect them is quite a hassle.
TV Guide is one of those publications that has a pretty big draw for collectors who love movies and TV. While the covers weren't always great, there were certain covers highlighting stars or shows you wouldn't find anywhere else.
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post and Norman Rockwell go hand in hand. Rockwell did well over 300 covers for the magazine and almost all of them look great and are worth having in your collection. A lot of his magazine covers are also frame-worthy.
Moviemaker Magazine may not be all that well known, but I'm a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez and this cover stood out to me on the rack. I bought it, enjoyed reading it, and will probably read it again at some point. Bottom line: Collect magazines that you like.
Controversial Magazine Covers
National Lampoon magazine has a lot of crazy covers, but if you're a dog owner, this one probably got to you a bit. . . hence the controversy.
Business magazines don't often have compelling covers (most are quite mundane), but this one from The Economist does stick out. I will say that the cover fits the article, as mergers between companies can be quite complicated at times.
High Times has gotten quite a boost from collectors in the past few years with all the talk about legalizing marijuana. This particular issue is one that I am constantly on the look out for because I admire the cover artist, Frank Frazetta.
Magazines Worth Money
Beeton's Christmas Annual
1st Sherlock Holmes
Fighting Stars Volume 1 Issue 1
Issue dedicated to Bruce Lee
Marilyn Monroe Cover
Sport's Illustrated #1
August 16, 1954
Contains baseball cards
Deadline Magazine #1
1st Appearance of Tank Girl
Collecting Old Magazines: The History of Martial Arts Magazines
More Very Collectible Vintage Magazines
- An Illustrated History of Heidi Saha by Warren Publishing (1973): This rare magazine is highly coveted by certain collectors with estimates of only a hundred or so in existence. By the way, Heidi was an early Vampirella model for Warren.
- Drag Cartoons #27 (May 1966): Adam West / Burt Ward Batman and Robin cover.
- House of Horror #1 (1978): A rare Warren magazine that was published to secure a copyright. Only 400-500 copies were produced.
- Island Magazine (October 1983): First Madonna cover.
- Mad Magazine #1
- Monster Parade #1
- Monsters and Things #2 (April 1959)
- Nomenus Quarterly: This had an extreme low print run. Magazine by Erik Madigan Heck with a cover price well over $2,000 US.
- Sensation Magazine #4 (Feb 1942).
Key Tip for Collecting Magazines
Searching for old magazines on the internet is one of the best ways to discover new ones or find older ones. I love magazines with unique covers, so I did searches such as "cool magazine covers from the 1970s" and "80's sports magazines". The key thing to remember is to put a time period or you're likely to get only newer magazines in your search results.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Don