National Geographic Society Maps

Some of the most popular collectible maps are those issued as supplements to National Geographic Magazine. Not only are these maps widely accessible, making it easy to start a collection, they are also universally recognized as outstanding examples of the cartographer’s art.

The National Geographic Society, established in 1888 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., has always been known for the fine maps in its publications, although in its early years, the Society didn’t actually make its own maps; it distributed maps published by government agencies or other map makers. In 1915 the Society formed a map department and ever since has been producing and distributing its own maps. Today it prints millions of copies of each of its maps.

Through about 1920 the maps were lightly glued inside the front cover of the magazine and disbound copies may show traces of this glue. Since that time, the maps have simply been inserted into the magazine.

From the beginning the Society has dated its maps, usually with the month and year of issue, but sometimes with the year alone. In a few cases, the date on the map is different from the date on the magazine. Through the 1942 map of the Pacific Ocean, the maps were folded inside-out, with the blank side showing; consequently, it’s not uncommon to find these earlier maps refolded incorrectly with the printed side out. This misfolding is one type of damage to watch for when adding these maps to your collection. Another type is paper separation along the folds, especially in the earlier maps, which were printed on a thinner paper.

Since the 1960’s it has been standard to print on both sides of the paper, and text, artwork and photographs often accompany the maps. In a few cases, the magazine supplements are not maps at all, such as the June 1989 pictorial on dinosaurs or the September 1973 sheet on outer space. And in a few other cases, the Society has issued maps that were not included with the magazine. Examples include maps issued with various books the Society has published, maps offered for sale separately, such as the December 1960 map of the U.S.S.R., and maps such as the July 1944 large-format “Germany and Its Approaches – for use by War and Navy Department Agencies only; not for sale or distribution.”

You should generally be able to find copies of National Geographic Society maps in very good to excellent condition. Often, these maps have remained safely tucked inside the magazine and if they’ve been stored in a dry, bug-free environment, should be in fine shape. With care and patience, misfolded maps can be correctly refolded; it’s helpful to have an example on hand to use as a model. Even when these maps were removed from the magazine, they’re usually in reasonably good condition; these maps were typically not put to the same type of use (or abuse) as road and highway maps.

Generally, and not surprisingly, the older National Geographic Society maps are worth more than the newer ones. Far fewer were issued – and even fewer have survived. Values reflect this scarcity and a copy of the October 1898 “The Gold and Coal Fields of Alaska” would set you back at least $100, if you can find one. All of the other maps from the years 1892-1905 are also rare and will cost between $50 and $75 apiece.

Titles between 1906 and 1918 are also desirable and hard to find; retail prices may run between $10 and $25 apiece.

From 1921 onward the maps become noticeably more plentiful and prices will be lower – and tend to vary more widely from dealer to dealer. On average, titles from the 20’s and 30’s run $6 each; one exception is the April 1939 “Reaches of New York City,” which was displayed in the governor’s office on the TV show Benson and commands a bit more. Maps from the early 40’s usually can sell for $5 apiece, largely because of their tie-in with the Second World War. Another popular – and similarly priced – war map is the April 1961 “Battlefields of the Civil War.”

From the 50’s onwards, one map dealer may ask $3 for a given title and another one may only want a buck, but if you don’t mind poking through thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales, you can usually find these newer maps for 25 cents – or less – apiece, although there’s no guarantee you’ll locate the title you’re looking for. You can also contact the National Geographic Society itself; their current catalog lists for more than 60 of their most recent and best-selling maps – for $7.95 apiece plus shipping and handling.

Checklist of Supplemental Maps Issued by National Geographic Magazine

[Note: The date at left is the issue in which the map appeared; in a few cases the date actually printed on the map may be different. In its first half-dozen years the National Geographic Magazine was published on an “occasional” basis. (AP = Atlas Plate)

1889

Oct – Asheville District

1892

Mar 21 – Muir Glacier

Mar 31 – United States

1893

Apr 7 – Nuremburg Chronicle Map, 1493; Juan de la Cosa Map, 1500; Ruysch Map, 1508

1896

Jan – Russia in Europe

Feb – The Orinoco River

Mar – Submarine Cables of the World

Oct – Nansen Explorations

1898

Mar – The Gold and Coal Fields of Alaska

May – Cuba

1899

Jun – Theater of Military Operations in Luzon

Jul – Region Adjacent to the Nicaragua Canal Route

Aug – South Polar Regions

Nov – Vancouver’s Chart No. 1, Vancouver’s Chart No. 2

Dec – Seat of War in Africa

1900

Jan – Philippine Islands as the Geographical Center of the Far East

Sep – Northeastern China

1902

Jan – The Philippines (Two maps)

1903

Feb – Pilot Chart of the North Atlantic Ocean for February 1903

1904

Jan – Alaskan Boundary Decision

Mar – War Map of Manchuria and Korea

May – Alaska

1905

Feb – Cart of the World on Mercator’s Projection

Jun – Seat of War in Manchuria

Aug – Philippine Islands

Oct – Region of the Panama Canal

1906

Jun – Co-tidal Lines for the World

Oct – Cuba

1907

Jul – The North Pole Regions

1909

Mar – Africa

1911

May – Mexico

1912

Jan – Countries Bordering the Mediterranean Sea

Feb – Bird’s Eye View of the Panama Canal

Oct – China and Its Territories

1913

Feb – Central America, Cuba, Porto Rico & the Islands of the Caribbean Sea

1914

Feb – Alaska

May – Mexico

Aug – New Balkan States and Central Europe

1915

Jul – Europe and Adjoining Portions of Africa & Asia

1916

Jul – Mexico

1918

May – Western Theatre of War

Dec – The Races of Europe and Adjoining Portions of Asia and Africa

1921

Feb – Europe Showing Countries as Established by the Peace Conference

May – Asia and Adjoining Europe with a portion of Africa

Oct – South America

Dec – Sovreignty and Mandate Boundary Lines in 1921 of Islands of the Pacific

1922

Feb – The Countries of the Caribbean, including Mexico & Central America

Oct – Africa and Adjoining Portions of Europe & Asia

Dec – The World

1923

Apr – United States of America

1924

May – North America

1925

Nov – The Arctic Regions

1926

Sep – N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Georgia and Eastern Tennessee

1927

Feb – Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia

1929

Dec – Europe and the Near east

1930

Jan – Florida

Apr – Louisiana

1931

May – Illinois

1932

Jan – A Map of the Travels of George Washington

Oct – The Antarctic Regions

Dec – The World

1933

May – The United States and Adjoining Portions of Canada and Mexico

Nov – Greater New York

Dec – Asia and Adjacent Regions

1934

Dec – Mexico, Central America and the West Indies

1935

Jun – Africa

Dec – The World (Two Hemispheres)

1936

Jun – Canada

Dec – Pacific Ocean

1937

Jun – Modern Pilgrim’s Map of the British Isles

Jul – The White Mountains of New Hampshire

Dec – South America

1938

Apr – The Reaches of New York City

Jul – Historic and Scenic Reaches of the Nation’s Capital

Dec – Bible Lands and the cradle of Civilization

1939

Apr – The Reaches of New York City

Jul – Atlantic Ocean

Oct – Central Europe and the Mediterranean

Dec – Mexico, Central America and the West Indies

1940

Mar – Classical Lands of the Mediterranean

May – Europe and the Near East

Jun – The Southwestern United States

Dec – The United States and Adjoining Portions of Canada and Mexico

1941

Mar – Indian Ocean Including Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia

Jun – Northwestern United States and Neighboring Canadian Provinces

Sep – Atlantic Ocean

Dec – The World

1942

Feb – Theater of War in the Pacific Ocean

May – North America

Jul – Theater of the War in Europe, Africa and Western Asia

Oct – South America

Dec – Asia and Adjacent Areas

1943

Feb – Africa

Apr – Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Jun – Europe and the Near East

Sep – Pacific Ocean and the Bay of Bengal

Dec – The World Map

1944

Apr – Japan and the Adjacent Regions of Asia and the Pacific Ocean

Jul – Germany and Its Approaches

Oct – Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands from the Indies to the Solomons

Dec – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

1945

Mar – The Philippines

Jun – China

Sep – Northeastern United States

Dec – Japan and Korea

1946

Feb – Northern Hemisphere

Apr – India and Burma

Jul – United States of America

Dec – Bible Lands and the Cradle of Western Civilization

1947

Feb – Southeastern United States

Jun – Canada, Alaska & Greenland

Oct – Countries of the Caribbean Including Mexico, Central America & the West Indies

Dec – South Central United States

1948

Mar – Australia

Sep – A Pocket Map of Washington, D.C.

Dec – Southwestern United States

1949

Jun – Europe and the Near East

Oct – The Top of the World

Dec – Classical Lands of the Mediterranean

1950

Mar – Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

Jun – Northwestern United States and Neighboring Canadian Provinces

Oct – South America

Dec – Western Europe

1951

Mar – Asia and Adjacent Areas

Jun – United States of America

Sep – Central Europe Including the Balkan States

Dec – The World

1952

Mar – North America

Jun – Southwest Asia: India, Pakistan and Northeast Africa

Sep – The Far East

Dec – Pacific Ocean

1953

Mar – Mexico and Central America

Jun – Historical Map of the Unites States

Oct – China Coast and Korea

Dec – Great Lakes Region of the United States and Canada

1954

Mar – West Indies

Jun – A Map of California

Aug – Northern Europe

Dec – Northern Africa

1955

Mar – Eastern South America

Jun – New England

Sep – Southeast Asia

Dec – Atlantic Ocean

1956

Apr – Round About the Nation’s Capital

Jun – Alaska

Sep – The United States

1957

Mar – The World

Jun – Europe

Sep – Antarctica

Dec – The Heavens / Star Charts

1958

Jan – Southeastern United States (Atlas Series)

Mar – Southern South America (Atlas Series)

May – National Parks, Monuments and Shrines of the Unites States and Canada

Jul – British Isles (AP 31)

Sep – Poland and Czechoslovakia (AP 38)

Nov – North Central United States (AP 9)

Dec – Greece and the Aegean (AP 40)

1959

Jan – Lands of the Eastern Mediterranean (AP 47)

Apr – NE United States (AP 6)

Jun – Germany (AP 35)

Jul – State of Alaska (AP 18)

Sep – Western Soviet Union (AP 45)

Nov – Southwestern United States (AP 12)

Dec – Asia and Adjacent Areas (AP 44)

1960

Feb – South America (AP 25)

Apr – Northwestern United States (AP 11)

Jun – France, Belgium and the Netherlands (AP 32)

Jul – Hawaii (AP 15)

Sep – Africa (AP 54)

Nov – The World (AP 2)

Dec – Japan and Korea (AP 51)

1961

Feb – South Central United States (AP 10)

Apr – Battlefields of the Civil War (AP 14)

May – Southeast Asia (AP 49)

Jul – The United States (AP 5)

Oct – Mexico and Central America (AP 22)

Nov – Italy (AP 37)

Dec – Canada (AP 19)

1962

Feb – The Balkans (AP 39)

Apr – Pacific Ocean (AP 61) New Zealand, New Guinea & Pacific Islands

Jun – Europe (AP 30)

Aug – Washington to Boston (AP 7)

Sep – Eastern South America (AP 27)

Nov – Southern Africa (AP 57)

Dec – West Indies (AP 23)

1963

Feb – Antarctica (AP 65)

Apr – Scandinavia (AP 34)

May – Southwest Asia (AP 48)

Jul – Central Canada (AP 24)

Sep – Australia (AP 59)

Dec - Holy Land Today (AP 52)

1964

Feb – Northwestern South America (AP 26)

Apr – North America (AP 17)

May – Shakespeare’s Britain

Jul – Greater New York/ Tourist Manhattan (AP 15)

Nov – China (AP 50)

Dec – Suburban Washington/Tourist Washington (U.S. AP 21)

1965

Jan – Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Eastern Thailand

Feb – The World

Mar – Spain and Portugal (AP 33)

May – The Nile Valley: Land of the Pharaohs (AP 58)

Sep – Switzerland, Austria and Northern Italy (AP 36)/TeAlps

Nov – Top of the World (AP 3)

1966

May – Southern California (U.S. AP 69)/Northern California (Plate 68)

Jul – Vacationlands of the United States and Southern Canada

Aug – Northwestern Africa (AP 55)

Sep – Western Canada (AP 21)

1967

Feb – Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand

Mar – Eastern Soviet Union (AP 46)

May – Eastern Canada (AP 20)

Oct – Indian Ocean Floor

Dec – Lands of the Bible Today

1968

Feb – The United States

Jun – Atlantic Ocean Floor/ Atlantic Ocean (Atlas Plate 62)

Oct – Archeological Map of Middle America

Dec – Southeast Asia

1969

Feb – The Earth’s Moon

Jun – Europe

Oct – Pacific Ocean Floor/ Pacific Ocean

1970

Jan – West Indies and Central America

Jun – Traveler’s Map of Italy

Aug – Map of the Heavens, with Monthly Star Charts for Both Hemispheres

Dec – The World

1971

Mar – The Peoples of Mainland Southeast Asia/Asia

Jun – A Traveler’s map of France

Oct – Arctic Ocean Floor/ Arctic Ocean

Dec – 1971 The Peoples of Africa/Heritage of Africa

1972

Mar – Canada

Jul – A Cultural Map of the Middle East/Peoples of the Middle East

Oct – South America

Dec – Indians of North America

1973

Feb – The Red Planet: Mars

Mar – Close-up: U.S.A. The Northwest

May – Mexico/Central America

Aug – Close-up: U.S.A. Wisconsin, Michigan, and the Great Lakes

Sep – Teammates in Mankind’s Greatest Adventure Earth from Space [Not a map]

Nov – Close-up: U.S.A. Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

1974

Mar – Close-up: U.S.A. The North Central States

Apr – A Traveler’s Map of the British Isles

Jun – Close-up: U.S.A. California and Nevada

Oct – Close-up: U.S.A. The South Central States

Dec – Discoverers of the Pacific/ Islands of the Pacific

1975

Mar – Close-up: U.S.A. Maine, with the Maritime Provinces of Canada

Jun – Close-up: U.S.A. Alaska

Jul – Close-up: U.S.A. Western New England

Oct - Close-up: U.S.A. The Southeast

Nov – The Political World/ The Physical World

1976

Feb – Peoples of the Soviet Union/ Soviet Union

Apr - Close-up: U.S.A. Hawaii

Jul – Portrait U.S.A.? The United States

Oct - Close-up: U.S.A. The Mid-Atlantic States

Dec – Whales of the World/ The Great Whales: Migration and Range

1977

Feb – Close-up: U.S.A. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky

May – Celtic Europe/Europe

Jul – Wild and Scenic Rivers of the United States

Oct - Close-up: U.S.A. The Southwest

Dec – Colonization and Trade in the New World

1978

Jan - Close-up: U.S.A. The Northeast

Apr - Close-up: Canada British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon Territory

Jul – The Heart of the Grand Canyon

Sep – Middle East/ Early Civilizations in the Middle East

Dec – Close-up: Canada Ontario

1979

Feb – Australia: Land of the Living Fossils/ Australia

May – Close-up: Canada Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories

Aug – Bird Migration in the Americas/ The Americas

Oct – Medieval England/ British Isles

1980

Feb – Africa: Its Political Development/ Africa

May – Close-up: Canada Quebec, Newfoundland

Jul – The Peoples of China/ The People’s Republic of China

Sep – Two Centuries of Conflict in the Middle East/ Mideast in Turmoil

Dec – Visitor’s Guide to the Aztec World/ Mexico and Central America

1981

Feb – Tourist Islands of the West Indies/ West Indies and Central America

Apr – Ireland and Northern Ireland: A Visitor’s Guide

Jul – The Solar System

Dec – The World/ World Ocean Floor

1982

Mar – Indians of South America

Apr – The Face and Faith of Poland

Sep – America’s Federal Lands/ The United States

Nov – The Making of America: The Southwest

Dec – The Historic Mediterranean/ the Mediterranean Seafloor

1983

Feb – Peoples of the Arctic/ Arctic Ocean

Mar – The Making of America: Atlantic Gateways

Jun – Journey into the Universe Through Time and Space/ Sky Survey

Aug – The Making of America: Deep South

Nov – The Making of America: Hawaii

Dec – History of Europe/ Europe

1984

Jan – The Making of America: Alaska

Apr – The Making of America: Far West

Jun – Japan

Aug – The Making of America: Central Rockies

Oct – A Traveler’s Map of Spain and Portugal

Dec – Peoples of South Asia/ South Asia with Afghanistan and Burma

1985

Feb – The Making of America: Northern Approaches

Apr – A Traveler’s Map of the Alps

Aug – The Shaping of a Continent: North America’s Active West

Sep – The Making of America: Central Plains

Nov – Canada’s Vacationlands

Dec – Making of America: Ohio Valley

1986

Mar – The Making of America: Texas

Apr – Central America Past and Present

Jul – History of the Philippines/ The Philippines

Aug – The Making of America: Pacific Northwest

Nov – Where Did Columbus Discover America?

Dec – The Making of America: Northern Plains

1987

Feb – The Making of America: New England

Apr – Pinnipeds Around the World/ Antarctica

Jul - The Making of America: Great Lakes

Sep – Territorial Growth of the United States/ The United States

Nov - The Making of America: West Indies

1988

Feb – A Traveler’s Look at Australia

Jun – The Making of America: Tidewater

Nov – Mount Everest

Dec – The World/ Endangered Earth

1989

Feb – Special Places of the World: Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Jun – The March Toward Extinction/ A new View of Dinosaurs [Not a map]

Jul – Historical France/ France

Oct – Land of the Maya

Nov – Asia-Pacific

Dec – Special Places of the World: Holy Land

1990

Jan – Atlantic Ocean/ Arctic Ocean (World Ocean Floors)

Mar – Soviet Union

Aug – Portraits of our Celestial Family/ The Solar System

Sep – Special Places of the World: New York City

Dec – Africa Threatened/ Africa

1991

Feb – States in Turmoil: The Middle East/ Middle East

Mar – The Making of Canada: Quebec

Jul – China

Sep – A Traveler’s Map of Germany/ Germany

Oct – Native American Heritage: a Visitor’s Guide

Dec – World War II: Europe and North Africa/ Asia and the Pacific

1992

Feb – Spain in the Americas

Apr – The Making of Canada: British Columbia

Jun – Pacific Ocean/ Indian Ocean (World Ocean Floors)

Aug – Amazonia: A World Resource at Risk/ South America

Oct – Southwest U.S.A.

Dec – The New Europe

1993

Jan – North America in the Age of Dinosaurs/ Dawn of the Delta

Mar – The Former Soviet Union

Jul – Coastal California

[Original article, published in September 1993, ends here.]

Oct – Making of Canada: Atlantic Canada

Nov – Water/ United States

1994

Feb – The Physical World/ The Political World

May – Alaska

Jul – Boston to Washington 1830/ Megaopolis

Sep – Traveler’s Map of Mexico/ Mexico

Dec – Making of Canada: Prairie Provinces

1995

Jan – Egypt’s Nile Valley – Delta/ Egypt’s Nile Valley – Upper Nile

Feb – Historical Italy/ Italy

Apr – Earth’s Fractured Surface/ Living on the Edge

Jul – Heart of the Rockies/ Above the Rockies

Sep – Hawaii

Dec – Star Birth in the Orion Nebula/ The Heavens

1996

Feb – Exploring Indonesia/ Indonesia

Apr – Old City: Jerusalem/ Jerusalem

Jun – Making of Canada: Ontario

Oct – Federal Lands in the Fifty States/ Physical United States

Dec – The Mongols/ Mongol Khans

1997

Feb – Dawn of Humans/ Seeking Our Origins

May – South Asia with Afghanistan and Myanmar/ India

Jul – Romans/ The Roman Empire

Sep – Making of Canada: The North

Dec – The Mesoamerican/ Ancient Mesoamerica

1998

Feb – Millennium in Maps: Exploration/ The Explorers

May - Millennium in Maps: Physical Earth/ Physical Earth

Jul – Natural Hazards of North America/ Great Disasters

Oct - Millennium in Maps: Population

Dec – Traveler’s Map of Spain and Portugal

1999

Feb – Millennium in Maps: Biodiversity/ Diversity of Life

May – Caspian Sea/ Caspian Region

Aug – Millennium in Maps: Cultures/ Voices of the World

Oct – Millennium in Maps: Milky Way/ The Universe

Dec – The Greeks/ Ancient Greece

2000

Feb – The Balkans/ Plight of the Refugees

Jun – Traveler’s Map of Britain and Ireland/ The Heart of Tourist London

Jul – Australia: Under Siege/ Australia

Aug – Sydney/ Sydney Olympic Park

Sep – Western Migration/ The Pathfinders

Dec – Dawn of Humans: People of the Americas/ The Americas

2001

Feb – Mars Revealed/ Destination Mars

Apr – The Egyptians/ Ancient Egypt

Jul – Sunken Treasures/ Treasures of the World

Sep – Africa’s Natural Realms/ Africa Oggi

Dec – Afghanistan: Land in Crisis/ Afghanistan and Pakistan

2002

Feb – Antarctica: A New Age of Exploration

May – The Inca – Machu Picchu

Jun – Quest for Everest

Sep – World Transformed/ Thirsty Planet

Oct – Heart of the Middle East/ Crossroads of Faith and Conflict

2003

Mar – Traveler’s Map of the West Indies

May – Everest 50/ Sagarmatha National Park

Jul – Two Koreas/ the Forgotten War

Dec – 100 Years of Flight

2004

Apr – Bird Migration in the Eastern/ Western Hemispheres

Jun – The Making of the Mall/ Downtown Washington, D.C.

Jul – New Views of Our Sun/ Space Weather

Sep – North American Indian Culture/ Indian Country

Nov – World/ Earth at Night

2005

Apr – A Nation Transformed by Civil War/ Battles of the Civil War

Jun – Europe/ Europe in Transition

Sep – Africa, a Storied Landscape/ Africa: The Human Footprint

Dec – Sea Monsters of the Ancient Sea

2006

Apr – Earthquakes: Living with the Threat/ Earthquake Risk – A Global View

Jun – Soccer Unites the World/ The Beautiful Game

Oct – The United States – History of the Land

Dec – 8 Planets – The New Cosmic Order/ 19 Trillion Miles to Explore

2007

May – A World Transformed/ Jamestown

Aug – Mexico and Central America/ The Dividing Link

Oct – Changing Climate/ Greenhouse Earth

Dec – Planet of the Dinosaurs – Gondwana/ Laurasia

2008

May – China/ The Forbidden City

Aug – Iran/ The Empire of Persia

Dec – Crucible of History/ Jerusalem’s Holy Ground

2009

May – Arctic Ocean: The Unexpected Frontier

Jul – Southeast Asia/ Khmer Rouge

Oct – Giant Redwood/ Last of the Giants

2010

Apr – The World’s Fresh Water

Aug – Blue Holes of the Bahamas/ The Cascade Room

Oct – Gulf of Mexico/ Layers of Life

Nov – World/ Great Migrations

Dec – Barcelona’s Natural Wonder/ Design by Nature

2011

Mar – Face of Seven Billion/ World of Seven Billion

Nov – Africa’s Great Lakes/ The Great Rift Valley

2012

May – 1863: Turning Point of the Civil War/ From Civil War to Civil Rights

Sep – Beneath the Oceans/ Mauna Kea

2015

Nov – Amazonia

2016

May – In the Hot Zone: Yellowstone Below the Surface/ The Pulse of the Park: Yellowstone Elk Migrations

Jun – A changing Pacific Coast/ Claiming British Columbia

Nov – Mars/ Colonizing Mars

Dec – Saving Unique Habitats/ Dreaming Green

See some of our National Geographic Maps for sale on our Nat Geo Page: https://www.newworldmaps.com/national-geograpic-maps

Charlie Neuschafer can be contacted at: New World Maps, Inc. PO Box 541389, Lake Worth, FL 33454 or at www.newworldmaps.com/contact.

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