Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide Newsletter - March 2000



From the Publisher

Market Survey - ups and downs

Collecting Playboy

Tip of the month - shipping via USPS bound printed matter rate

Auction Highlights


From the Publisher:

Many thanks to all of you who made the decision to purchase the Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide (CMOPG). Since this is our first newsletter, I welcome any and all comments on either the guide itself or this newsletter. I had planned to add Life magazine and Sports Illustrated prices in February, but the timing of those additions has been put off just a little, so next week you should see new pages for Life, SI, People, TV Guide and Rolling Stone magazines. By the end of the month we'll also be adding various other titles, including a good number of adult magazines.

Some of you have expressed to me various questions regarding the prices, and in response, here's some general guidelines. The vast majority of the prices are from online auctions since these are the most reliable and accessible. I personally take prices only from completed auctions in which the magazine is complete and in good condition. Prices for multiple magazines or "lots" are not used in establishing prices for the guide.

Prices are also garnered from a number of dealers around the country from in-store sales and auctions. Again, sales of individual issues only are used in the guide, though these sales comprise less than 10% of the total.

Generally, the prices are derived from an average of sales of an issue. While the prices of some rarer issues may be from only one or two sales, the majority (85%) of the issues priced are based on 7-10 sales per issue.

Prices will be updated at least twice during the year, and you will be advised in advance when these changes will take place. Finally, shipping, insurance and other ancillary costs are not included in the prices. Only the actual sale price of the magazine is recorded.

I also would like to invite all of you to visit the home site of Downtown Magazine at:


Recent additions to the main site include an online store for magazine subscriptions and Downtown Magazine branded auctions. You'll be seeing more auctions in the near future.

--Rick Gagliano


Market Survey: Keeping track of the rise and fall of prices of various magazines over time is somewhat of a risk, but there are a few trends which I have found worth noting and I will pass them along. First, the seasonality of sales online is somewhat of a misnomer, as many assume that the summer months, especially on the internet, are supposed to be slow. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I have found from personal experience and that of other dealers. The months from March through August are by far the most robust. Last fall, from September through November, there was a terrible fall-off in sales in all categories, mostly blamed on Ebay's site instability, so it bears watching this year whether those months will again be slow. December being Christmas season, sales generally are off 25-40%, both in number of items sold and price-wise. January and February are generally what I would call "average."

Some notes on prices:

Playboy: Hot: 1960-64, 1954 all issues, anything with Pamela Anderson or Drew Barrymore, 1999 issues still high.

Cool: late 50s seem to be undervalued, 80s and early 90s are cold.

Average: late 60s, early and mid 90s.

Life: Anything between 1948 and 1965 is tremendously undervalued at this time.

War years '42 - '45 and '36 - '41 years, commanding strong values.

Sports Illustrated: Recent issues with superstars (Deion Sanders, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Allan Iverson, Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, current football stars) somewhat overvalued. 50s commanding fair prices, 60s undervalued, 70s improving, 80s and 90s are very cold right now with the exception of Jordan, Montana, Gretzky covers.


Collecting Playboy: Let Me Count the Ways

As the Cadillac of men's magazines, Playboy continues to attract collectors from a diverse cross-section of interests. While many still regard Playboy as smut, pornography or unworthy of the kind of respect afforded mainstream publications, it should be noted that Playboy became mainstream about four decades ago, when the public morals in America caught up to the private passions of individuals.

All arguments to the negative aside, Playboy magazine has provided American men - and women - quality entertainment since 1953 in a variety of forums, and has maintained its position as the number one collectible men's magazine for many years.

The reasons for Playboy's dominance in the collectible marketplace mirror its popularity on the newsstand, with focus and diversity high on the list of desirable elements. Hugh Hefner, the lynch pin of all Playboy success, propagated the Playboy Philosophy from the very start: that a young man's life was supposed to be fun, pleasure-filled and populated with lovely, playful young ladies. Not bad for openers, and not very far from reality either. The average guy back in the fifties and sixties generally had a decent job, car, apartment and plenty of choices on the dating scene. Single women - known fondly as girls back then - were, for the most part, free-spirited, fun-loving and willing to date. Both sexes, as always, were more than willing to experiment sexually.

The argument purporting that Playboy delivered on a monthly basis what was essentially a fantasy owes primarily to the wails of feminists and muttered cries of guys who weren't getting any. Certainly, the Playmates were beyond the norm in terms of beauty, but there's many a fetching lass who never graced the pages of any magazine and never will. Beauty, if it be in the eyes of the beholder, surely was not tarnished by the photo editors of Playboy magazine. More than anything, Playboy gave young men a preview of the real world. Yes, this is what real women look like, more or less...

And it is these lovely ladies who folded out before our eyes as youths that became the focus of the magazine and the reason Playboy became a collector's item from the start.

It was not radically different from the start. Essentially, Hefner combined the best elements of the upscale magazines, Esquire - for whom he worked for about one year - in particular, and the girly rags, into what we now know as Playboy. (Interestingly, it was going to be called Stag Party, until, only a few weeks prior to publication, an attorney representing the hunting and fishing magazine, Stag, asked Hefner to desist.)

It was those ladies in the magazine, in various stages of undress, that men could not throw into the wastebasket along with the newspapers and sports rags. Mickey Mantle surely would hit the trash heap long before Miss October, and thus, Playboy magazines began to pile up around households, in closets and under beds across America. Yes, many issues get thrown out by irate mothers, upset spouses and jealous girlfriends, but the legend of the centerfold lived on and flourished.

As time passed, other reasons to collect Playboy magazine began to emerge, the obvious appeal of the alluring Vargas Girls chief among them. Antonio Varga, who worked for Esquire and Playboy at various times from the 40s to the 70s, was recruited by Hefner in 1959 and produced monthly Vargas Girls until the mid seventies. Fast on his heels was painter LeRoy Neiman, who became a regular contributor to Playboy in the late fifties and whose renderings of everything from ballet to Grand Prix racing appeared in the pages of Playboy from the fifties to the present. Neiman's work is fast approaching legendary proportions. His originals and early prints are fetching impressive numbers at sales and auctions.

Playboy became a staple of American culture not long after its inception in 1953. By the mid 60s to the mid 70s, Playboy clubs dotted the urban landscape, and the magazine had hit its circulation highs (September 1972 was the best -selling issue of all time with a count of 7,012,000 copies sold). Penthouse, which was to become Hefner's nemesis for a while, though to a degree a copycat publication, managed to prompt circulation peaks by the mid to late seventies. This pushed the Playboy mystique even further into the psyche of American culture. Only the best are copied, and by that flattered. While Penthouse and others tried to compete, Playboy's sizable lead and loyal following was never truly assailed. The closest Penthouse ever came to Playboy was in 1974, when Penthouse sold 4 million copies to Playboy's 6 million. To the utter relief of men worldwide, both publications survived.

Add to man's everlasting fascination over the female body the various stars of stage and screen that have exposed themselves to the Playboy lens and/or the scrutiny of their editorial writers and interviewers and you have yet another reason to collect copies of this magazine. From Marilyn Monroe to WWF star Sable, Playboy has made a concerted effort over the years to address and undress the sexiest stars.

Finally, and often overlooked (for obvious reasons), are the writers Playboy has featured and the interview subjects over the years. With names like Kerouac, Updike, Haley, Toffler, Wodehouse, Clarke filing in the spaces between the ads and the girls, who could have asked for more. Playboy gave us interviews with icons from the worlds of sports, politics, media and public affairs.

So, when somebody asks you why you collect Playboy magazine, you can breezily answer, "not just for the pictures."


Tip of the month: Shipping via USPS bound printed matter rate

One of the sticking points of online auctions is often the shipping cost, especially when dealing with a multiple or lot purchase. Some dealers gouge buyers with inflated prices -- a practice that undermines the entire online selling community -- some simply do not have a clue, and then there are the rare few who know the ropes.

Plenty of sellers ship magazines book rate, which is improper, though the Postal Service rarely intervenes. The correct rate is bound printed matter, which, by definition, includes used, or collectible magazines. The rate is based on weight and distance (zones) and is extremely reasonable with the highest rate being just over $7.00 for fifteen pounds, which is also the maximum weight. Bear in mind that bound printed matter must weigh at least one pound. It also pays to check prices for Priority (for short routes) and parcel post (heavier packages).

Bear in mind that many postal employees have been trained that magazines do not meet the requirements for bound printed matter, though if one reads the definition correctly, it's a perfect fit. Contact the regional business services if your local branch employees are not in agreement. I did after having a number of packages returned and everything was straightened out.


Auction Highlights:

A few actual prices paid recently on Ebay

(all sold by Ebay ID: merryjane420)

Playboy, December 1953, Vol 1. #1: $5,700.11

Playboy, January 1954: $1,036.02; $1,376.90

Playboy, February 1954: $2,717.00

Playboy, March 1954: $1,025.10

Playboy, April 1954: $910.00

Playboy, May 1954: $660.00

Playboy, June 1954: $229.49

Playboy, July 1954: $257.99

Playboy, August 1954: $178.83

Playboy, September 1954: $125.00

Playboy, October 1954: $282.00

Playboy, November 1954: $1,025.10

Playboy, December 1954: $1,025.10

That's all for this month's newsletter.

Rick Gagliano

Downtown Magazine, Fearless Publisher

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide Newsletter

April, 2000

News: We are completely revamping the and upgrading the Price Guide with a new look and individual pages for each issue. I have done a test of 1963, and they are ready. I expect the process to take roughly two weeks (if I can get it done while doing my taxes and moving to a new location)

Speaking of a new location, I will be moving within the next two weeks to:

29 Owen Street

Rochester, NY 14615

My email address and the Guide will be available during this time, but I expect a possible 1-2 day interruption in my phone service, so if I don't answer emails right away, I'll get to them ASAP after the move is completed.

Even more news: Search has been added to the Price Guide. It can be found on the home page, has been tested and will be updated every week. Many thanks to the people at FreeFind for their invaluable service.


The MARKET: A slight improvement in prices has been noted in the first two weeks of August, especially on eBay. Prices are moving up especially well in the Specials category, with the hot titles being the Book of Lingerie series and many of the pre-Newsstand Specials, prior to 1986. Girls of the World and Bunnies series are fetching very good prices at auction.

Another noticeable trend has been spotted and its one which I believe everyone can relate to. For lack of a better term, I'll call it the End-of-month effect. I did some historical research and noticed that sales overall and prices paid are lower in the last week of each month. I tracked this back six months and was convinced that rent and mortgage, utilities, car payments, and regular monthly bills have a negative effect on prices and the overall bidding on items. I have seen my personal sales drop off as much as 50% at the end of the month. Sellers might want to bulk up listings in mid-month, while buyers may see the end of month as a great time to add to collections at bargain basement prices.


Playboy prices are due to be updated in May and again in September. Once this process is completed, you'll be able to see which how prices have improved and/or declined in the past four months and the biggest price swings will be noted in the June, October and February newsletters.

If you have prices to submit, either post them on the message board or email me at fr@dtmagazine.com, and include date, title, and price.


Recent lots and collections prices paid (March 16-31)



Playboy Collection 54 issues from 1970 - 1979 76.55

Playboy Collection 1957-60 (20 issues) 123.00

150 issues from 1987-1999 99.00

Playboy 1968 complete year 12.00

Playboy 1969 complete year 15.00

Playboy 1977 complete year 18.51

Playboy 1971 complete year 15.50

Playboy 1978 11 issues 12.57

Playboy 1973 complete year 12.00

Playboy 1974 complete year 21.31

Playboy 1975 complete year 15.50

Playboy 1976 complete year 13.07

Playboy 1979 8 issues 8.00

Playboy 70 issues from 1955-1964 177.50

Playboy 120 issues from 1972-1986 81.00

Playboy 400+ 1960-1990 450.00

Playboy 1986-2000 200 issues 162.50

Playboy 1988-1999 152 issues 131.00

Playboy 1990-2000 73 issues + specials 55.00

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide Newsletter

May 2000

I am going to dispense with the usual format of this newsletter for this month, since it is already late and I am still trying to complete the individual page listings for Playboy magazine. I have been busy compiling information, and will have about another 100 listings completed this week, mostly from the 50s and 70s. I have probably vastly underestimated the time it would take to complete the individual pages, and overestimated the speed at which I can get them done. The net result is that they will not be completed as soon as I had originally stated, and I am not going to put any more deadlines upon myself. Suffice it to say that I am working diligently (alone) on these listings and would rather have them be accurate and meaningful than simply "there." I do appreciate everyone's patience and understanding on this matter, but it will get done, and soon.

Prices are being updated as well, and you will see new prices within a few weeks. I did manage to get my hands on some preliminary data for Hustler magazines, with covers and interview subjects noted, and they will be posted this week. Prices will come in June.

Market News: as expected, the market has, with the weather, turned decidedly more pleasant for sellers. Prices are on the rise (though not even close to what some magazines should be bringing) and bidding on the auction sites is brisk. (I should add that I am an active seller on eBay, almost exclusively, as the other sites do not offer the same market potential). Playboy in particular is picking up in the pre-1980 category on eBay (see the following article about the split categories) and other magazine categories (car mags, Fortune, Life, and movie mags in particular) are also experiencing the Spring bounce. This trend should continue through the end of summer. Some are of the school that summer is a slow time on the internet, but my experience has been just the opposite. I believe it has much to do with college students with too much time on their hands. I will continue to track, and report.

I also urge you to use the message boards to post want lists and/or items you are selling, either on the password-protected site, or on the home site at:


I do not discriminate as to what you can post as long as it has something to do with the collection of magazines. I get emails practically every day from people looking for specific items which I cannot locate. I urge them to post on the message boards. Dealers: feel free to post ad-type messages if you have offerings of interest to the collecting public.

eBay Splits Categories for Playboy

This really irked me. Usually, eBay asks people for opinions on categories and other sensitive subjects, but splitting Playboy into pre-1980 and post-1980 is beyond my imagination. What they have done, in a nutshell, is determine that pre-1980 is OK for consumption by anyone, while post-1980 is "adult" or pornographic. The good news is that the listings in the adult section can be seen when one does a search for "Playboy" on the general site. If you click on a listing that is in the Everything Else: Adult Only: Magazines: Playboy (post-1980) category, you will get the adult login screen. Once you login, then you can view the actual listings. Confusing? Yes. Practical? No comment (see below). The bad news is that people who browse by category seldom head for the adult section when looking for Playboys from 1980-2000, some of which are in demand and can fetch a decent price (Pam Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, and Drew Barrymore come immediately to mind). Plus, some of the 80s issues were some of the finest Playboy ever produced.

The magazine was very mature, tasteful and informative. So much for eBay being the arbiter of good taste and morality.

I posted the following on the Discuss New Features board at eBay, after playing hide and seek with my listings (which were not showing up anywhere, and as soon as I moved them, immediately received bids). It somewhat explains my perspective. Here it is:

If you are referring to auctions under the Adult Only-Magazines-Playboy (post 1980) section (what an absolutely stupid idea), everyone else's in that category shows up when you do a search for "Playboy".

Except mine, of course. I moved them to another category. Maybe that will help. As usual, eBay's police are not doing their job. The non-adult Magazines-Men category is filled with Playboy auctions (POST 1980). What a sham! Playboy began running full frontal nudity in 1970! So why after 1980, did it become "adult"? Let's see what people like Irwin Shaw, Michael Crichton, Donald Trump, James Michener, Kurt Vonnegut, Art Buchwald, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Roy Blount, Jr., John B. MacDonald, Joseph Heller, Harlan Ellison, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Carter, Pete Hammil, Jimmy Breslin, Bill Cosby, Alex Haley, Tom Hanks and many others who have all either appeared as interviewees or writers, feel about Playboy being "adult", i.e." pornographic. Yes, let's protect our children from smut, but at the price of not reading important and exceptional writers? eBay is NOT the moral authority of the 2000s.

Books were banned and burned in Nazi Germany, also. Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt fought and won censorship issues back in the 1960s and 70s. It looks like we're going to have to fight for first amendment rights all over again. eBay's "all powerful, answer-to-nobody" attitude will be their ultimate undoing.


Well, so much for this month. Happy trading, collecting and pricing to all.

Rick Gagliano

Downtown Magazine, Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

Newsletter for July 2000

Greetings and salutations,

I am pleased to announce that the individual page listings for 1950s Playboys are now active, even though some of the information is sketchy, the cover of each individual issue is shown. Since these early issues did not carry a year date (in fact, the first issue carried NO date), this should help in identifying issues. The 60s and 70s, are 85-90% complete, and will be 100% active by the end of the month. After that, the 80s and 90s will be updated.

A note on some of the 50s prices: The prices in the decade pages have not been updated, while most of the 50s prices on individual pages reflect changes within the past three months.

The 1970-79 Penthouse descriptions and prices are active. The link to them is on the home page.

The search capabilities continue to expand with the addition of these new pages.

I will be updating the home page soon and adding an archive of newsletters.


A Note On The Market

While generally stable, the trend of already low prices being paid for late 50s Playboys has deepened, especially on eBay. (I actually took advantage of the some bargains myself).

Popular magazines from the 30s continue to fetch excellent values.

A couple of auctions which caught my interest (and maybe yours) over the past few weeks were these offerings from Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange

Here's the link to the Hef autographed Vol 1, #1:


This one is for a mint copy of the first issue:


Neither received any bids.


If you like Playboy, then you probably like the Playmates. Here's a site I found which offers every Playmate in her centerfold photo:


I don't have any idea if this is sanctioned by Playboy (doubt it), but I was impressed.


Finally, there's a nice article on Playboy.com about collecting Playboy memorabilia:


By the way, the Playboy.com site is splendid. Playboy auctions off some very unique items at:


The current bid on an invite for two to Hef's Midsummer Night's Dream bash is currently $10,150.00. I'll have to pass this year, Hef. ;-)

Happy hunting,

Fearless Rick


Copyright 2000 Downtown Magazine, Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide Newsletter

August, 2000

Hello, all!

I have some interesting links and news to share with you this month. To start off, a warm welcome to our new members! Now on to the business side of things.

Ebay and Yahoo: Buying and Selling Made Simple?

Many of us buy and/or sell items on eBay, the clear leader in online auctions, but Yahoo certainly is gaining ground, capitalizing on eBay's mistakes and adding new features and functions. Most sellers have a better success ratio on eBay, due primarily to the large number of eyeballs, but buyers are drawn to Yahoo more frequently these days for a number of good reasons. First, though eBay's selection is larger, Yahoo often offers the same items (I'm speaking mainly about magazines here) at lower starting bids and with seemingly less competition. Secondly, when it comes to Playboy and Penthouse, eBay steadfastly refuses to see and change the major mistake they made by splitting Playboy into pre-1980 and 1980 to present (in the unsearchable Adult section) categories. Yahoo's adult section is now searchable, BUT, many Playboy and Penthouse auctions are being sold on the main site, under the category: Magazines: Other. It seems that Yahoo has been following the complaints of eBay users and is doing nothing to prohibit sales on their main site (this may change).

Thirdly, Yahoo also added completed auctions search which goes back 90 days while eBay has limited their completed search to about two weeks. While eBay's completed auctions show all auctions listed, Yahoo shows only those with winning bids. The marketing idea is that by going back 90 days, it looks like there were more items sold on Yahoo than on eBay, even though that is not the case. Nevertheless, it shows Yahoo's renewed commitment to their auction space.

There are further comparisons of interest to sellers: Yahoo is free and you can relist easily up to two times automatically, after that, it is a simple matter to relist items. eBay charges both for listing and a final value fee (FVF), but will allow one free relisting if an item receives no bids. After that, you pay the listing fee again. Both sites offer "featured" auctions, as well, for additional fees. On eBay, to be featured in a category and in search now costs $19.95. Yahoo offers featured listings for as low as 10 per day (your item moves up in the featured listings if you pay more - it's an auction for prominence). Considering that the average featured auction is seven or ten days (Yahoo offers up to 14 days), the cost differential is apparent. Yahoo is now offering a 50% rebate on featured auction fees for items that sell, further lowering the cost. Yahoo offers, in my opinion, many more features for both buyers and sellers than eBay, and seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

Take a close look at both sites and make your own decisions:



Personally, I have moved nearly all of my auctions to Yahoo, and am in the process of informing my buyers.


A Very Nice Vargas Site:

Those of you who appreciate, collect and/or sell the works of Antonio Vargas should like these pages:




The individual page listings for Playboy are nearing completion, with the 90s, the last section, getting done this week. After that, these pages will be updated. It has been a grueling task, though enjoyable, to index this many magazines, but it is, hopefully, worth the effort. I also changed hosting companies, due to the limitations on space and poor support of my previous site host. Since the end of July we have been hosted by ChampionHost. If you are looking for a quality hosting solution at a very reasonable cost, with plenty of space and unlimited bandwidth, check out:


or contact me at fr@dtmagazine.com

Also, I will be upgrading the entire site with advanced and more search capabilities and a more secure password-protection scheme. I will keep all of you informed of these improvements.

Warmest regards,

Rick Gagliano

President, Downtown Magazine

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

Collectible Magazine Online Newsletter

October, 2000

In this issue:

The Market

Playboy Non-Magazine Collectibles

Progress on Upgrade



The Market: In the past two months, single back issue prices for common magazines have fallen to their lowest level in eight months, due to oversupply and uncertainties caused by internet selling on marketplaces such as eBay, Yahoo! and Playboy.com. While the supply of old magazines has risen, so to has the concern of purchasers over quality and reliability of delivery. The decline has not been endemic to any single category or type of magazine. Among popular titles, single back issue sales have slumped considerably for all of the popular magazines: Life, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone; while even older quality titles such as Harper's, Vogue and Esquire have felt some decline, though better issues prior to 1950 seems to be holding up fairly well. The one bright spot is in the newer magazines (1980 to the present, with still plenty of fuel from younger buyers for pop culture, movie-related and music magazines.

Playboy, in particular, has seen the biggest hit, with 60s, 70s and 80s issues in massive oversupply, creating a perfect buying opportunity. Being the most widely circulated men's magazine of all time, and now the most collectible as well, the sheer volume of issues still in collectible condition may continue to drive prices lower in the near term. Dealers and novice collectors should also benefit from lower prices on larger lots and complete years.

Playboy Non-Magazine Collectibles: Part of the dilemma facing collectors and dealers today is the ever-widening amount of Playboy collectibles, a sub-category with literally hundreds of items, from books, keys, puzzles, bar sets and memorabilia from the clubs and casinos to the newer cards and die cast cars. Over the span of nearly fifty years, Playboy has continually produced branded merchandise in apparel, jewelry, videos and recently, CDs and DVDs. For dealers, it is difficult to keep a stock of such a vast inventory of available items, while for collectors, selectivity is necessary unless one risk breaking the proverbial bank. It would be safe to say that since there are only 562 individual monthly issues of Playboy magazine, the number of different collectibles and products is a far greater number. Playboy wallpaper, anyone?

Upgrade News: This item will fill into the next section, Links, as I have put up some lot auctions, thinning my inventory, to make more time to concentrate on finishing the development of the Playboy section in the guide. It will probably never be complete (at least as long as they keep publishing a new issue every month), but rather an ongoing evolution.

With that in mind, below are the links to my lot auctions on ebay, where nothing is sacred, not even Anna Nicole Smith. These end on Thursday night, so if you're interested, bid often! Just kidding... These are not the best condition issues, but I have seen far worse and there is no outright junk in them. I don't expect the final bids to be out of anyone's range, considering the sluggishness of the market. If you are a subscriber, and win one of these auctions, I'll knock 10% off the final bid price and throw in a few extras.

454804711 89 issues Playboy lot 1980-1989 collection


454812201 55 Playboy magazine Lot 1964 - 79 Collection


454793140 47 Penthouse magazine Lot 1971 -79 Collection


454800944 82 Penthouse magazine Lot 1980 -87 Collection


Happy trading,

Rick Gagliano


Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

January, 2001


Beginning this month, I will be sending out the newsletter again on a monthly basis. I'll do my best to keep everyone informed of developments to the price guide, Playboy and other magazines, online auctions and e-business, and related news.

First, an update on the Price Guide. January (and spilling over into February) is the month for price updates. You won't see any radical changes, just new prices and I'll make sure to post which prices are updated on the Price Guide home page. Look for 1950s and 1960s prices to be updated by the 15th and 70s, 80s and 90s by the end of the month. In between that, I will be filling in gaps for individual issues. Some issues have very incomplete information, mostly the 50s and early 60s, as I personally have never seen some of these (especially the first year, 1954). If anyone has information on these issues (pictorials, authors, features, # of pages, etc.), feel free to pass them along. I can't offer much in the way of compensation, but anyone who can provide a good amount of accurate information will receive a couple of years free access and my undying gratitude.

A few words about methodology: Here (without giving away the whole formula) are the key elements of how prices in the guide are determined. Each issue is tracked individually on auction sites and from dealers as well as those of you who drop me a line from time to time reporting sales (Please keep doing this. It adds great value to the consistency and legitimacy of the price guide - see below for email address to send sale prices.). Lot sales or collections are NOT included in prices, only sales of individual magazines. I track auctions which include pictures. Auctions which do not include pictures generally receive less bids and end up selling for less unless the seller has an extraordinary reputation. 90-95% of the prices I record are from auctions with pictures. The final high bid is the price that is recorded. Shipping is NOT included in the final determining price. High and low prices remain constant until either is breached. Average price is determined from current prices, including the high and low price. In the upcoming update, I will be providing guidance as to whether an issue has increased or decreased in value from last year.

Market Update: Tracking the sale of individual issues, there was a notable drop in prices from August through mid-November across all auction sites (eBay, Amazon, Yahoo and Playboy.com). During this time, prices fell to their lowest levels of the year. I don't have enough data to determine whether or not this is seasonal, but will be watching this year. Just before Thanksgiving, prices rebounded and remain strong. Sellers are reporting high prices on Playboy.com and increased bidding activity on Yahoo. Amazon remains somewhat underused and eBay continues to lead in gross listings.

Single issue prices for Playboy 1980-2001 are generally better and improving on Yahoo, in the category Entertainment: Magazines: Other (Yahoo seems to be looking the other way on this, as Playboy is supposed to be listed in their adult section - which still has no search engine) as opposed to eBay's Mature Audiences section. The BUY IT feature on Yahoo seems to work well with magazines from this era. 1950s prices overall remain strong, 1960s still seem undervalued, while 1970s have been rising and are increasingly sought after. Recent issues (1999-present) still maintain strong pricing as new collectors and old desire very fine to mint condition issues.

New Features on Auction Sites: eBay introduced a BUY IT NOW feature in November that allows an individual to purchase an auction item at a stated price. If the BUY IT NOW price is not met before an initial bid is placed, the Buy It Now price is removed from the auction. Sellers and buyers both have reported good results from this feature, which Amazon and Yahoo have had in place for a long time. The difference is that on Amazon and Yahoo, the Buy Price remains a feature of the auction until either the end of the auction or until that price is met, regardless of bidding activity. In all cases, the auction ends immediately when the price is met.

Yahoo announced last week that they will begin charging for auctions (listing fees only, no final value fees) as of January 10. While many have complained, being that Yahoo's auctions have always been free, financial analysts see it as a good sign, another revenue stream for the portal. As far as auction users are concerned, the proof will be in the pudding. Bidding activity on Yahoo auctions has never been what anyone would call brisk. By pricing the listings, Yahoo will probably see a decrease in the total number of auctions, but an overall increase in quality of items. Only time will tell whether this new approach is successful.

eBay's Mature Audiences Section: what used to be known as Adult Only on eBay has been renamed Mature Audiences, and a search engine has been put in place, a welcome feature for users. eBay also revised their policies concerning what could and could not be mentioned in auctions, and the guidelines, as is the enforcement of them, are fairly vague. This Mature Audiences section includes Playboy, Penthouse 1980 - present. Pre-1980 issues are still listed on the main site. Videos and all other adult and pornographic items are to be listed in the Mature Audiences section. Make sure to check the rules about posting items that are adult in nature (if you have the time - eBay is the world's leader in creating new, and often confounding, rules).

email addresses:

General questions, suggestions or comments: fr@dtmagazine.com

Reporting sales prices: pbprices@dtmagazine.com

Change password or username: changepgid@dtmagazine.com

Don't forget to use the search engine on the home page. It's a great tool for finding people, articles, authors, etc. and will only get better as the database expands.

All the best until next month,

Rick Gagliano, Publisher

Downtown Magazine, Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide Newsletter

March 2001

Greetings magazine enthusiasts,

It is with great pleasure that I bring you this newsletter, having spent the better part of January and February updating Playboy prices on the site, a task that was challenging, and at times tedious and frustrating. Not only did eBay suffer continuing service failures in the completed auctions area, but it completely did away with the function in the Mature Audiences section, making the search for Playboy prices for anything after 1980 a real nightmare. However, the search and compilation of prices for 2001 is complete and currently displayed on the by-decade pages, alongside the 2000 prices. The process of changing the individual pages to reflect 2001 prices is underway, the 50s already reflect the changes and the other decades will be updated apace. Descriptions and cover photos also are being updated at a rapid rate, with the individual issue pages from 1960-1962 the most recent (descriptions for most of 1962 are still lacking for most months and are next on the list). As of today, roughly 90% of the individual issue pages include descriptions, though I continue to update these as issues and information becomes available. A number of late 70s issues are in cue, and after that the years 1997-2000 will be updated (I have the information, just haven't had the time to build all the pages).

What has not been updated is the Playboy Specials page, which includes calendars and special issues. That section will be updated as time allows during March and April. I may begin to include Playboy videos and other Playboy collectibles, a vast market, and welcome all comments on that regard.

A new special interest page is now online, this one of particular interest to fans of Alberto Vargas, it lists each known issue in which a Vargas Girl appeared and the caption of the artwork. This page took some time to develop, and there is a possibility of adding a thumbnail of each individual Vargas Girl. The Vargas page can be accessed from the home page of the Guide.

Another new development is the addition of auctions to our main site at Downtown Magazine (http://www.dtmagazine.com). This is somewhat of an experiment, as I am sure many of you have had difficulties buying and selling on the various auction sites. eBay finally instituted a search engine, but it seems too late, as activity in the Playboy (1980 - present) has been slow to nonexistent; Yahoo recently toughened their standards so that all Playboy magazines have to go into their Adult Section (Does it really matter? You don't need a password or special sign in to get there.) which is without a search engine. Playboy.com provides a reasonable alternative, though the overall selection and lack of buyers is a discomfort to both sides of the equation. There are free sites, like Bidbay, ePier and BidVille (for alternative sites, check out The Wednesday Report - http://www.dtmagazine.com/auctioncounts.html) but generally, the starting prices are high and the bidders are nowhere to be found. For those reasons and others, I took it upon myself to set up my own auction site. It's still very developmental and I will be populating the listings in the next few days. If you are interested in listing items there, fee free, there are no fees of any kind and registration is a snap. You can access Downtown Magazine Auctions at:


A number of thoughts developed through the pricing process over the past few months, one of which was that January may not be the best time to track and update prices. The market seems to soften a bit and next year I will probably hold off until late February and March to update prices and this year's mid-year update will be conducted in late September - early October instead of August. The overall market seems to be firming up now, as I have seen some prices rebound and some new highs for certain issues. Another thought, as many of you have brought individual prices to my attention, some high and far out of the normal range, is the overall accuracy of the prices. First, I just want to make a general statement that I cannot track and post every auction, sale or exchange made online or off. There is simply too much data to collect. While I make every attempt to track accurately, the constraints of time do come into play. Some of you may have noticed a large difference in some issues over last year, and the reasons for that are: 1. This year a larger sample was used in determining averages; 2. The market slumped badly over last year due to a) oversupply, b) weakened demand, c) more issues that are not meeting the grade for collectors, d) shoddy or the complete lack of descriptions, exorbitant shipping terms and other associated maladies brought on by inexperienced, lazy or otherwise slipshod sellers. (A note on that last point for sellers: If you want to get top dollar for your magazines on eBay or any online auction, use a complete description and some mention of either the Playmate or feature of the issue - I do not mind anyone using the descriptions I provide in the guide, just don't use them word-for-word and DO NOT copy the entire format.)

In the coming months, Life magazine, Sports Illustrated and some specialty publications will be updated and expanded in the guide. Some day soon, I'll also be posting previous newsletters and some interesting magazine and Playboy links to the site.

Beware the Ides and the Madness of March, and until those April showers come your way, take care.

Rick Gagliano

Downtown Magazine

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide Newsletter

May 2001

This month I am pleased to announce that most of the upgrades to the Price Guide are complete. Every issue has at least a link to a photo of the cover, all from 1953-1989 have links to individual description pages. The 1990s are being written right now and will be in place within ten days to 2 weeks.

A few words about pricing of Playboy magazines on eBay: The current market is optimal for buying lots from 1963-2000, though somewhat weak for selling individual issues. Prices are being hurt by oversupply more than anny other factor. This should eventually result in a shortage of quality issues from the 60s especially. Even now, issues and lots from the 50s and early 60s are still maintaining good, albeit somewhat depressed prices. The number of listings from the 60s was nearly equal to the amount offered for the 70s on a recent search. Late 60s issues can be bought well under market value.

Yahoo has killed their adult section, which means that most of the Playboy and Penthouse magazines will be sold in the Mature Audiences section on eBay, or on Playboy.com or Amazon auctions. Yahoo really made a mess of the prono issue, and lumping Playboy into the mass with pornography is just another example of how little the people at Yahoo really understand about auctions and magazines.

More and more subscribers and potential subscribers are asking for lists of other titles. Sports Illustrated and Life magazines are being compiled presently and will be available on the site in a limited initial form later in the month. Being that these are weekly magazines, there will be less descriptive information, though the methodology for pricing information will be the same.

General information pages about categories of magazines, such as horror, movie, and other genres will begin to be presented as well during the next few months and thereafter. If you have written any articles or would like to contribute information on specific titles or genres, feel free to contact me.

Sorry this is such a short newsletter, but updating the site is keeping me pretty busy, so I'll sign off here. Don't miss the 3-day sale. It is for subscribers only and there are some very nice items in there.

All the best,

Rick Gagliano

Publisher, Downtown Magazine

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

If you are looking for protective sleeves for magazines and/or records, check out our easy order page (pay with PayPal) at:


Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide

MidSummer Edition - July 2001

In this Issue:

* The Market: Why prices are depressed

* Other Venues: Are they worth the effort?

* Selling Lots and Collections

* eBay Black Hole Theory

The Market: Why Prices Are Depressed

As we all know, the dotcom boom is long over. Once highly-touted companies offering everything from free internet access to grocery shopping via the web have succumbed to the natural laws of economics and gone out of business or reinvented themselves in a more appropriate form. With their demise, these companies help to create the overall economic slump which has been with us now for the past 14 months. In part, the dotcom boom and bust helped many online entrepreneurs get started on the road to success, only to find the road a torture test complete with potholes, bumps, wrong turns and dead ends. The survivors include a handful of auction sites, notably eBay - which has not only survived but prospered - Yahoo, Amazon, and a handful of upstarts like BidBay, BidVille and Auction Addict, all of whom seem to be going nowhere fast.

Amidst the carnage, collectors and dealers of everything under the sun have had to wade through continual changes, not the least of which being a softer market for everything from Steif bears to, yes, vintage (and not-so-vintage) magazines. The collectible, and to a lesser extent, magazine market may have actually foreshadowed the boom-bust period of the dotcoms, accelerating through the late 90s to a peak in the early 2000, when the market for collectibles online began to fade due to oversaturation and consumer doubts. When the money began to fall out of the dotcom euphoria, it hit the collectibles market with a thud, anecdotal evidence and research studies revealing that prices for most collectibles fell on average 25% from 2000-2001. In the case of magazines, an underdeveloped niche at best, the drop in prices was even more severe, with prices off 40% and more.

Case in point: a first issue of Playboy, December 1953, sold for an average of $3,115 in early 2000; the most recent prices for the same issue now hover around $2100. Not that our fascination with Marilyn Monroe nor the overall desirability of the rare first issue has faded, it's just that money is a little tighter than it was one and two years ago. While this may be good news for collectors still in the buying mood, dealers with inventory have been feeling the pinch. Adding to the declining price structure is the all-too-common practice of wholesale dumping of collections. Some recent sales include:

Fine Homebuilding Magazine COMPLETE # 1 - 140 ---$409.00

Life Magazine (s) 385 issues 1950-1959 --- $405.00

MAD Magazine Collection '63-'71 HUGE good -- $219.71

75 Magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction 70s --- $76.00

It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that magazines being bought for $1-3 each are going to be picked over and marketed for a quick profit, keeping a lid on prices. The good news is that there are some pockets of relative strength, mostly in depression-era and earlier magazines like Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Fortune and The New Yorker. Sports magazines pre-1950 seem to be gaining traction as well. Pulp, detective and the early men's genre magazines, now becoming somewhat in vogue and desirable, are fetching solid, though still undervalued, prices.

More good news comes in the form of the tax rebate checks which will be doled out over the next few months. Americans being what they are - having much more of a propensity to spend rather than save - some of that money will certainly find its way into online auctions, propping up sale prices at a good time, just prior to the holiday season. Also, the economy cannot continue to slump indefinitely. At some point, the economists will announce that we are back on track, companies will commence hiring rather than laying off, and the natural tendencies of people with more money in their pockets will begin to take hold. We've more than likely seen the bottom of this market, both in terms of the economy and collectible prices, so better days seem to be just around the corner. We'll all keep our fingers crossed.


Other Venues: Are they worth the effort?

With well over 100 different auction and fixed-price sites available online, there seems to be nearly indisputable proof that most of them are nothing more than a waste of time for serious sellers. It will come as no surprise that items sell more readily on eBay than anywhere else, they having (according to industry estimates) a stranglehold on the auction business with anywhere from 65-85% of the market share in the U.S. Yahoo, while it remains a viable alternative for some items, mostly low-priced trinkets, trading cards and stamps and coins, it fails miserably for individual magazine sales, and especially men's magazines, which cannot, according to their rules, even be put up for bid on the site. Amazon offers welcome relief in that department, though bidding is often scant to nonexistent. After that, there's a virtual wasteland. The other major free sites, like BidVille, ePier and BidBay, offer little in the way of a buyer base and one wearies of seeing pages and pages of items with no bids.

Fixed-price scenarios, like Amazon's z-shops Yahoo Stores, and now, eBay Stores, hold little promise for long-term success. Potential buyers may gaze at sceenfuls of nice collectible magazines at reasonable prices, but without the excitement and uncertainty of bidding, fixed price items tend to sit and sit and wait, gathering dust and providing little more than reference points for actual auction sale prices. The fixed-price format will never replace the auction sales as they offer neither the urgency nor the visibility of auctions.

At this point, eBay's dominant position in the online auction business seems unchallenged. Despite the howls and pleadings from many who are dissatisfied with their being in such an enviable position and desirous of an alternative, there are some positives to the argument. eBay has become a relatively stable platform, buyers are comfortable there, and while competition may be seen as a savior, a proliferation of other viable sites would only serve to splinter and fragment the business and result in slower sales and lower prices overall. The mix of able sellers and willing buyers now populating the eBay site may be as good as it is going to get for the foreseeable future. While other sites offer low or no listing and success fees, they just do not measure up from a consistency or market standpoint. You can list all you like on other sites, with mixed to downright horrible results. The one notable exception to the rule is the auction site at Playboy.com, which more often than not provides a viable venue for just that one title.


Selling Lots and Collections

A number of questions arise when considering the selling of large lots or collections of magazines, particularly, and primarily, these involve getting the best price and minimizing effort. I have developed a number of guideline, which, though they may not be the best, seem to offer the better end of the bargain for both me and potential buyers.

The first consideration when selling a collection or large lot of a particular title is the overall marketability of the items. I have some magazines which I am certain will just take up space in my storage area for many years and there they stay. These are nice magazines, such as Smithsonian, Audubon and Natural History, but they are barely marketable. Other titles offer a better return, but selling individual issues is not an option, due to low interest and/or low prices. A rule of thumb that I use is that if I cannot reasonably expect to sell individual issues at auction for an average price of $6-9 or higher, and sell more than 50% of them on the first go-round, then they must go into a lot sale, either on eBay or as an offer to regular customers (I offer Playboy magazines from the 80s and 90s when I become overstocked mostly as a service to subscribers.).

Usually, you will find a number of issues (10-20% of the total) from any lot that can be sold individually. Those issues that have a special appeal, be it a particular movie star, historical importance, or high-interest article, are good bets to sell by themselves at auction for a fair price. I generally pull those from the lots. The rest are sorted by date and described as accurately as possible, keeping the time spent on descriptions to a minimum, and providing a picture, or usually, a series of pictures of the items for sale. Be sure to note the condition of each issue or, if they are all in similar condition, make a general note like all issues are Fine to Very Fine. I find that lots of 12 or more are the most attractive, as collectors and dealers alike don't want to bother with smaller numbers. Also, keeping a few of the somewhat desirable issues in the lot is a worthwhile strategy. This adds to the appeal and its a natural progression for those individual issues that did not sell right off. Always make sure to provide an estimated shipping cost that is as accurate as possible. I usually weigh the lot, add two pounds for packaging and ship Bound Printed Matter or Media Mail rate and state it as a fixed price. This avoids confusion after the sale, and is appreciated by buyers, be they dealer or collector. No matter which way you slice it, the cost of shipping is part of the acquisition cost, so most buyers appreciate knowing this up front.

We've all seen (and maybe been burned by) auctions and/or offers for lots or collections that either don't state a shipping price or offer one that's unreasonably high. A number of scenarios develop from these types of sales, none of them good. In the case of the quoted shipping price being too high, either the auction is completely ignored, or the buyer is as ignorant as the seller and they get into an argument over shipping cost after the sale - an unnecessary and annoying development. In the case of there being no quoted shipping price, potential bidders will either ignore such an auction or email in advance. This creates more work for the seller, needlessly, a source of annoyance for the buyer and can easily be avoided. Those who sell lots or collections without a quoted shipping price and those who buy from them are all-too-deserving of the aggravation and poor relationship that is bound to result.

Describe accurately and honestly, include a reasonable number of quality images (too many will load too slowly) and always include at least an estimate if not a solid figure for shipping. Keeping these few guidelines in mind will assure that your lot sales are a success.


eBay Black Hole Theory

Some of you may already be aware of The Wednesday Reporta regular feature of our main site:


which tracks the number of auctions running on eBay and other popular sites. Our latest edition, from 7/25/01, features an article on a theory which is in the cognitive stage, called the eBay Black Hole Theory. Essentially, it concerns itself with the amount and growth of off-site transactions made by eBay members circumventing the eBay site. I am looking for anecdotal information and/or any research, statistics or records in that regard. Your identity will remain confidential. Take a look at the theory's draft of initial considerations at the News and Notes page:


If you have any information, there's an email link on that page.


I hope all of you are enjoying the nice summer weather.

Warmest regards,

Rick Gagliano

Publisher, Downtown Magazine

Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide