Ephemera Tip: Unsellable Magazines

I’ve been trying to sell some old magazines on ebay, and it’s tough. It’s not a good venue for magazines sales because you don’t see things organized by date.

Some have sold, but more haven’t, and in frustration, I actually gave away a copy of Coronet magazine that was probably worth around $10.

Another quirk about magazines, even very old ones, like the Coronet, which I think was from 1951 or 1939 (or was it two copies?) don’t move. In fact, as time passes, the value goes up, but the number of buyers seems to plummet as knowledge of the publication basically vanishes.

Have you ever heard of Coronet magazines?

What about Look?

They were hugely popular magazines in their day.

I had, and have, a few “problem” magazines. They are missing covers, or missing pages. Incomplete magazines are worth a fraction of complete ones.  So, if you start at $10, and go down from there, you’re really not looking at very much profit, if any.  I suspect most dealers don’t want damaged or incomplete magazines.

Here’s where you come into the picture.  You’re at an estate sale, and spot damaged magazines.  You might be able to get them for free, or very cheap, like pennies or nickels per copy.

Most of the insides are still good!

For crafting purposes, there are some popular old magazines that I think are great. They have rich inks, photos, and good ads.  Here’s the list of what I know:

  • Fortune – yes, the “business” magazines. It’s more like a cult. It has quality graphic arts, good inks, and very good printing.
  • Life – the classic. You know it.  It’s also plentiful and cheap!  A damaged book is probably worthless.
  • Look – a rival to Life. A large photo magazines.  Rarer, so more expensive, but it’s also becoming unknown.
  • Coronet – similar to Reader’s Digest, except more religious (if that is possible), more church oriented, and it had a photo section that was printed with rich inks.
  • National Geographic – the classic. Lots of ads for their well-heeled readers. Legendary photos.  Also, unfortunately, the older ones tend to have writing, that, today, we’d consider racist. These are generally inexpensive when complete, and cheap when incomplete.
  • McCall’s – women’s magazines with fashion illustrations.  Still well known, and the older magazines are worth of lot of money.

Remember, complete magazines are worth money, incomplete ones are worth less money, or none at all.

I don’t have any incompletes to sell, except this one Coronet that’s for sale.

I may end up posting it and other unsellables on Simbi. It would be only a small price in simbi, but a fairly expensive price for shipping.

Author: John

I can be reached at johnk@riceball.com.

One thought on “Ephemera Tip: Unsellable Magazines”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *