There’s an old magazine for everybody to collect. Whether you’re a fan of sports or movies, FDR or Ronald Reagan, old magazines covered your interests monthly, or sometimes weekly, as it happened. A book on your favorite subject is great, but it consists of information pulled together after the fact. A newspaper is more immediate, but they can really pile up on you. Not only does a magazine fit right in between but it presents and attractive and usually affordable way to collect that history.
19th century titles often include first printings of fiction including work by some of the greatest authors who’ve ever lived: Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. 19th century magazines often include beautiful engravings or illustrations. Articles by great thinkers and great men abound as magazines were often the best way to reach an educated mass audience in the 19th century. The 20th century saw the rise of great photography in vintage magazines with the popularly collected Life Magazine leading the way. And then there are the ads.
My name is Cliff Aliperti and I fell in love with old magazines as a kid growing up with my weekly edition of Sports Illustrated. Each one was devoured cover to cover and saved for future reference. I also deal in movie collectibles and write about classic movies, so old movie magazines have provided both an invaluable resource and a popular item to stock in recent years. I always saved my old magazines, but as my vintage collectibles business entered the 21st century I began to expand the scope of titles I’d handle as I found them a fun item to sell for profit as well.
My favorites now are probably the general titles like Time and Newsweek, photo magazines like Life and Look, and illustrated magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s. I love old 19th century magazines like the Atlantic, Harper’s, Century and Scribner’s because of all that old fiction found inside. It’s a lot easier on the wallet to collect a serialized Dickens first edition in magazine form than it is to buy the earliest book edition.
Collecting Old Magazines launched in 2005 but after a time was incorporated to one of my other websites. In 2011 I broke it off into its own site once more. Welcome back.
I’ve written all of the articles on Collecting Old Magazines myself. There are several articles about the history of the magazines themselves and some of the personalities behind them. Other articles offer buying and selling tips for people interested in actively collecting old magazine back issues. Then there are the Random Issues, which are the most fun for me. In Random Issues I open up a somewhat random old magazine and share the contents with you so we can all enjoy what was going on in the world in a certain week in say, 1933.
For those who want to dig even deeper insides old magazines I run another website called the magawiki which consists exclusively of magazine contents pages. The covers are pretty, but it’s the content that makes these beauties so much more than eye candy!