Old magazines: what to do with them?

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I have a collection of magazines including MR, RMC and a few others that date back to the 1970's.

I have kept these for reference and general entertainment reading but with the growth of the interent and, especially, forums like this one, keeping them as reference material isn't worth while any more.

So what do I do with them? I don't feel comfortable just throwing them out. I don't feel comfortable recycling them, either.

I've listed some on eBay but they don't sell well, partly because of the cost of postage (they're HEAVY in any quantity!). I've given some away from time to time and offered to give away more but I've had no takers. My LHS doesn't want them, either for re-sale or hand-outs on operating night.

For the time being, I'm keeping my collections of N Scale and N Scale Railroading magazines, although they may become cannon fodder in the future. For now, they don't require the shelf space that the MR and RMC requires.

So what do I do with the older issues that I no longer want to keep? I'm planning on keeping issues from 1990 on but may decide to keep them from 1980 on. Depends on whether anyone wants the 1980's issues!

Thoughts, suggestions, opinions?

Darrell, quiet...for

Charles Smiley

Give 'em to the Salvation Army or Good Will - if they'll take them that is... I wrestled with this for years wasting valuable storage space. I've noticed some at the LHS and train shows go for about 50 Cents each if you buy a bunch at a time. So nobody will get rich hanging onto these things.:(

I finally went through them (back to about 1970) and ripped out a handful of construction articles I might want reference to in the future.

But my "take" was that almost anything before about 1995 is rather clunky compared to what's going on now. Plus even the photo and printing quality wasn't nearly as good as we enjoy nowadays.

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
Contact a local hospital and see if they would like a few for the children's ward. Many such hospitals have a patient's day room where they could be placed. I'd tell them you had a lot of them if they would encourage the kids to cut out pictures to put up in their rooms or wards and you'd bring more by as needed.

Another good spot is the waiting room of a children's walk in clinic or a pediatrician's office. A little diversion for the younger folks instead of worrying about how big the needle will be they'll get jabbed with. ;)

Waiting rooms at VA and other hospitals often welcome reading material as does senior centers and nursing homes. A lot better than thumbing through old issues of The Procotology Times or Sunset Monthly.
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Charles Smiley

Great idea Mike!

And get them off those strange looking Thomas trains so they'll be fully motivated model railroaders someday. Baseball has farm clubs and we should too.

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
Thanks Charles although I can't take credit for it. A friend does that with his old car magazines. At first he would bring one to read while at the local VA and then decided to bring a few each time and just leave them.

If a youngster grows toward the hobby that would be great. Maybe the greater part would be for just a little while they can be distracted and forget where they are.


The Sarcastic Jedi
Give 'em to the Salvation Army or Good Will - if they'll take them that is... I wrestled with this for years wasting valuable storage space. I've noticed some at the LHS and train shows go for about 50 Cents each if you buy a bunch at a time. So nobody will get rich hanging onto these things.:(
I know as a kid in the 90s I got burned on trying to keep old comics around hoping by now they'd be worth a fortune and I could buy my own private island. Nowadays I'd be lucky to see what I paid for `em. I doubt the ModelRailroader and Rail Model Craftsman Specualtion Market's gonna be much better.

Seriously though I mostly save them because I figure If I get rid of it soon enough I'm probably gonna run into some project where I wish I still had that article. If you wanna give them away though I'd say donate them to either a nearby children's hospital or a retirement home. At least that way they'll probably be getting read.


Long Winded Old Fart
I advertised in my local shopping guide about 10 years ago for a good home for my thousand copies that went back to the 40's. A guy came from Melbourne, Fla. in a mini van & I gave them away to him. He called me about 6 months ago & said he was moving to Alaska & did I want them back. I told him "NO" & he donated them to about 15 diff. places including the VA, local hospitals, Children homes, doctor offices & a magazine distributor.


Long Winded Old Fart
Thousands of magazines in a minivan? I bet his back tires were rubbing up in the fenderwell. :D
His back bumper was about 1" from the ground. We moved about 250 closer to the front seats as we could to take the stress off the rearend. He also bought about a hundred bucks worth of hardback train books that he put in the front floor. he called me after he got home & told me he could only do about 40mph all the way home. That is about 150 miles from me.


Thanks for all the suggestions. I really like the idea of donating them to children's wards, VA facilities etc.

I'll check with one of my veteran friends and have him ask the next time he goes to the VA hospital. I'd be happy to drive him over with a pickup load of magazines! LOL

Darrell, quiet...for now

Sir Humphrey

New Member
If charities won't take them, then I just take the articles out of them that I want to keep and then bin the rest. I just had a good clear out the other week...
You could always bundle them up in volume sets and sell them for 5-10 bucks a set. Thats way less then cover price and if you hit the train shows locally. You should be able to sell them.


Fleeing from Al
I donated all of mine to the local library when I moved. They were happy to have them, since they had no model railroad magazines before that. I'm hoping they helped to inspire someone to get in the hobby.
You used to be able to donate magazines to organizations that would then ship them to the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, im not sure if there is a criteria of how old the magazines are.

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