Archive for the ‘Madonna’ Category

‘First’ Madonna magazine cover sells for £180

March 5, 2017
Madonna cover from i-D dated March/April 1984

Madonna on the cover of i-D dated March/April 1984

A copy of the March/April issue of i-D from 1984 has sold on eBay for £179.99. It was marketed as ‘MADONNA’s 1st magazine cover’ and the listing went on:

This is the super collectable and rare Madonna issue. It was her VERY FIRST magazine cover. Spotted in a club in Paris, and photographed by Mark Lebon when she arrived in London. There’s no interview as such, a couple of quotes, including these snippets: ‘I moved to New York because my father wouldn’t let me date boys… I was 17 when I saw my first…’

But this ‘first cover’ claim seems dubious when No 1 magazine had her on its cover dated February 4.

The first Madonna magazine cover - No 1 from 4 February 1984

Madonna magazine cover – No 1 from 4 February 1984

And Smash Hits followed 12 days later. This magazine also sells well across the world, fetching £28 in the UK and $49 recently in Australia. In addition, a collection of 31 Madonna magazines described as ‘all mint’ and ‘some very rare’ from 1984 to 2017 sold in Oz for $407, attracting 13 bids. The lot included the 1984 i-D., as well as Playboy, Face and Tatler Madonna issues.

A different look for the cover of Smash Hits, also in February 1984

Smash Hits, dated 16 February 1984

The March/April issue of i-D may well have been on sale in February, because monthlies usually come out towards the end of the month preceding the cover date, but as early as  the 4th, No 1‘s cover date, seems unlikely.

Even so, the Madonna i-D magazine seller, Vintage Magazines, has listed another copy on eBay – but upped the price to £250!

Despite Madonna’s popularity in the music press, the first reference I can find to her in newspapers is in ‘Eurythmics singer brings his studio’, a feature by Todd Webb in the
16 August 1984 Daily Oklahoman, an American paper. The profile of Dave Stewart mentions that:

his travelling notebooks – cassettes containing miles of taped songs, song fragments and melody lines – have yielded three songs for the new Tom Petty album, a new song in the making for Madonna, and plans to ‘experiment in the studio’ with [Lou] Reed

No doubt, Madonna experts will be able to identify the track – and this press cutting is undoubtedly one many fans aspire to as well. Just a few months later, The New York Times of 6 January was talking of how:

No phenomenon illustrates more pointedly how pop music history seems to run in cycles than the overnight success of the 24-year-old pop siren known as Madonna. The month before Christmas, Madonna’s second album, Like a Virgin sold more than two million copies (‘Madonna’s siren song’ by Stephen Holden)

It takes another six months before Britain’s mainstream press picks up on a phenomenon that swept its pop magazines before anywhere else. Surprisingly, it was The Times that leapt in, though with a highbrow angle about women’s liberation:

The United Nations decade for women reached its climax here with Playboy and Penthouse rushing to beat each other to the newsstands with nude pictures of pop star Madonna. For those who do not follow the pop scene closely, I should explain that Madonna is not a successor to the Singing Nun but the very latest sex symbol. Her stage costume consists of lacy underwear, bare navel, micro-skirt and crucifix. (‘Liberated – with frills attached’ by John O’Sullivan, 13 July 1985)

(I should explain that the Singing Nun was Jeanine Deckers, a Belgian nun – with the stage name Sister Smile – who beat the Beatles to No 1 in 1963 with Domenique, but became addicted to drink and drugs and died in 1985.)

A month after its decade for women article, The Times was quoting Madonna’s press team in a piece about pop and film soundtracks, saying ‘she’s the hottest crossover dream to burn up the charts since Elvis’. From nowhere to Elvis in a year, not bad going – and then she hitched up with actor Sean Penn and the anti-Madonna ‘flirt rock’ reaction kicked in.


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 


 

What’s a copy of the Sunday Times Magazine worth?

May 20, 2016
The Sunday Times Magazine cover of Davie Bowie from 1975 has been popular on eBay - with prices ranging from £5 to £35

The Sunday Times Magazine cover of Davie Bowie from 1975 has been popular on eBay – with prices ranging from £5 to £35

An email landed this morning from Danielle that got me thinking:

I came across your site from Google. I have over 100 Sunday Times magazines as well as a few other titles from the late 60s and early seventies. In fairly good and good condition (in my opinion). Some of them I have seen for sale on someone’s website for £30+ per edition, but I’ve no idea if they’re actually selling at that price. I’d rather sell them together than have to list them separately but don’t want to be ripped off. Someone offered me £40 for the lot but that seemed ridiculously low. Are you able to advise at all?

There are always copies of the Sunday Times Magazine – originally the Sunday Times Colour Section when it was launched in 1962 – on eBay but the value of a copy mainly depends on what’s in it.

This is demonstrated by two recent auctions on eBay. In one, a complete 1962 bound set sold for £102 plus £11.50 postage and there were 2 bidders. Yet, a single issue from 1964 sold for the same amount – £102 + £5.89 postage – and attracted 4 bids. Why? Because it contained the article ‘Mods Changing Faces’ which covered 8 pages in the August 2 issue. So, Mods rule, OK!

The first Sunday Times colour section from 4 February 1962 (though the cover is not dated)

First Sunday Times colour section from 4 February 1962 (cover was not dated)

But these two sales are exceptional: in the past 6 months only 9 listings have fetched more than £20 (including postage). Postage rates varied from £1.60 to £4.50.

A first issue from 1962 sold for just £8.49 + £2 postage. The fact that there were just 2 bids suggests not many people were aware it was for sale – but then the listing did not give the issue date or describe it as the first issue. The better the description, the more likely people are to find it.

An analysis on eBay this morning shows 213 lots sold in the past six months, but if you tick the ‘Completed listings’ box, you’ll see 1,789 finished listings. So only about 1 in 8 have sold. There are pages of unsold issues, whether priced at £30 or £3. Table 1 shows what’s sold and notes some of the sales.

Table 1. Sunday Times supplements sold on eBay (Dec 2015 to 19 May 2016)
Price range No. sold Comment
£100+ 2 Complete 1962 set – bound. £102 + £11.50 post. 2 bids
‘Mods Changing Faces’, 8-page article Aug 2 1964. £102 + £5.89 postage. 4 bids
£30-£99.99 2 30 Dec 1962 Marilyn Monroe Rudolf Nureyev. £39.99 + £4.50 postage (same issue also sold for £3.99 + £1.45)
David Bowie cover (20 July 1975), Copies sold for £30, £25, £16, £11, £6, £5
£20-£29.99 5
£10-£19.99 41 1962 first issue fetched £8.49 + £2. 2 bids
9 copies 1960s-1970s. £11.50 + £5.80. 2 bids
£5-£9.99 94 12 issues from 1971. £1.99 + £3.80. 2 bids
9 issues from 1975. £1.99 + £3.80. 1 bid
Under £5 82

Table 2 gives an overview of number of copies sold as a percentage of total listed by price.

Table 2. Number of copies sold as a percentage of total listed by price
Listing/sale price No. listed No. sold % sold
£70+ 5 2 40%
£60-£69.99 5 0 0
£50-£59.99 12 0 0
£40-£49.99 35 0 0
£30-£39.99 83 2 2%
£20-£29.99 104 5 5%
£10-£19.99 214 41 13%
£5-£9.99 243 94 39%
0-£4.99 1088 82 8%
Total 1789 226 13%

Danielle raises some other specific issues.

Some of them I have seen for sale at £30 a copy

Specific listings hold messages for both buyers and sellers. For example, one person listed the 30 Dec 1962 Sunday Times Colour Section and sold it for more than £30. But someone else only earned £3.99 + £1.45. A big factor in this was that the former mentioned the main contents – Marilyn Monroe and Rudolf Nureyev. Magazine with features on Monroe, Madonna and cult TV series such as The Avengers tend to sell well.

Sites like Crazy About Magazines and Elegantly Papered are professional sellers and put the mags up at high prices and sit in wait of a serious buyer. They trade on their reputation for selling magazines that are rare and in very good condition. Also, they have expertise and so know what they are selling and can usually judge how rare a magazine is. You can approach such sites or regular eBay sellers and see what offers you can get from them. Crazy About Magazines has an email form to fill in to get a quote. Many such traders are listed on my Collecting Magazines page.

Someone offered me £40 for the lot…

You will not get the best price by selling them in bulk, but then can you be bothered listing them separately on eBay and then doing all the posting and packaging? One strategy is to keep an eye on eBay for a few weeks, see what goes well and pick out the best issues to sell. Then, sell off the remainder as a job lot. Note that 9 copies from the 1960s and 1970s sold for £11.50 + £5.80 postage. That’s just over £1 an issue. Another 12 issues from 1971 went for just  £1.99 + £3.80 postage. That’s 16p an issue. With that sort of success rate, £40 for 100 issues might not look so bad!

Another option might be an impecunious relative/friend/teenager with the time to do the listings and you could split the proceeds.

In fairly good and good condition (in my opinion)…

Be very careful about descriptions. The average person’s ‘good condition’ will not be the same as an expert collector’s. So stick to facts rather than opinions: no missing pages; no writing on the issue; describe bad creasing; rips. Photos can be really useful here. Again, there’s more advice on the Magforum.com Collecting page.

I’ve no idea if they’re actually selling at that price..

The thing to do is to build and save searches on eBay to get a feel for the market. You’ll find tips on doing this at the ‘Useful ebay searches‘ section on my Magforumcollecting page.

Madonna – a scarce face on Cosmopolitan covers

March 7, 2016
Madonna on the front cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in the US for May 1990

Madonna on the front cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in the US for May 1990

Madonna has appeared quite a few times on Vogue covers, but just twice on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. In May 1990 she fronted the magazine and the designers made an unusual use of the title to promote its 25th anniversary:

That COSMOPOLITAN girl is twenty-five … and the future is hers

The pop singer was well established as a cover choice by this time, with the first Madonna magazine cover dating back to 1994. But Cosmopolitan seems to have keen to make up for a quarter century without Madonna with its May 2015 issue – when both Madonna and Cosmopolitan celebrated their 50th birthdays (though neither seems to have wanted to be associated with that age!). The publishers, Hearst, ran the cover below and three other Madonna covers. The thing all three covers had in common, as well as Madonna, was ‘Sex! Sex! Sex!’, Cosmo‘s favourite cover line.

Madonna rides again on the cover of Cosmopolitan with its May 2015 issue

Madonna rides again on the cover of Cosmopolitan with a mask and pearls  for the May 2015 issue

But celebrity covers have been rare for most of Cosmo‘s history. Originally, the cover girl was chosen as a ‘Cosmopolitan girl’ who espoused the philosophy of the magazine.

Of course, it wasn’t a silver anniversary for the British edition of the magazine (that only appeared in 1972), so Claudia Schiffer, German supermodel and now Suffolk resident, was the choice for May. Note the cover plug for the Zest insert, Cosmo‘s health and beauty spin-off, which was launched as a standalone magazine in the autumn of 1994.

Claudia Schiffer, German supermodel, on the cover of the UK edition of Cosmopolitan for May 1990

Claudia Schiffer, German supermodel, on the front cover of the UK edition of Cosmopolitan magazine for May 1990

>WATCH OUT for my V&A book on British Magazine Design (Waterstones UK)

>WATCH OUT for my book on British Magazine Design (V&A shop)

>WATCH OUT for my V&A book on British Magazine Design (Amazon US)

>Cosmopolitan magazine profile

The first Madonna magazine cover

December 17, 2015
The first Madonna magazine cover - No 1 from 4 February 1984

The first Madonna magazine cover – No 1 from 4 February 1984

A question comes in: when did Madonna first appear on a magazine cover? I can’t claim to have a definitive answer, but the first British example I can find is the above No 1 cover from 4 February 1984. The fortnightly IPC magazine beats the better-remembered Smash Hits published by Emap by 12 days.

A different look for the cover of Smash Hits, also in February 1984

A different look for the cover of Smash Hits, two weeks later in February 1984

i-D then followed with its March/April issue (which may well have also been in the shops in February).

Madonna cover from i-D dated March/April 1984

Madonna proves she can wink for the cover of i-D dated March/April 1984

It was another five years before Madonna began to appear on Vogue covers in the UK and US, but Tatler had given her its front in 1987.

Madonna fronts Tatler with a sophisticated look in September 1987

Madonna fronts Tatler with a sophisticated look in September 1987

And Playboy got in pretty early on Madonna’s act too with this September 1985 cover. Note the headline: ‘Madonna nude: unlike a virgin  … for the very first time.’

Madonna was pretty quick in getting her kit off for Playboy in September 1985

Madonna was pretty quick in getting her kit off for Playboy in September 1985

Looking at these covers, it’s noticeable how quickly she changes her style to give a different look for each audience – the teens in No 1, the rich sophisticates for the upmarket Tatler, and the goggling male readership of Playboy.

>>A History of British Magazine Design by Anthony Quinn (May 2016)

Joan Collins – the world’s top sex symbol

October 26, 2015
Joan Collins was the world's greatest sex symbol according to Woman magazine in 1987

Joan Collins was the world’s greatest sex symbol according to Woman magazine in 1984

For the weekly magazine Woman in 1984, cover star Joan Collins was the world’s biggest sex symbol and ‘The greatest glamour queen of them all’.

Collins – or Dame Joan as she now is – had been a cover model, film actress and pin-up since the 1950s but her career was brought back to the boil when she landed the role of Alexis Carrington in a struggling US soap opera, Dynasty. She took the series by the scruff of its neck and made it into the biggest soap, overtaking Dallas and played the role for eight years.

Collins was nominated six times for a Golden Globe, winning the US TV acting award in 1983. In December that year, at the age of 50, Collins appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine, photographed by Hollywood glamour portraitist George Hurrell.

Thirty years earlier, she had starred in Cosh Boy, ‘the year’s most controversial film’, according to the 13 March front page of Answers – and the first to be given the new X certificate.

It’s difficult to see her popularity and longevity being surpassed, even by the likes of Madonna and Kate Moss.

>>>The glamour of Joan Collins

Madonna’s belly button – the ‘world’s most exploited’

October 19, 2015
Madonna feature in the first issue of Celebrity Magazine in 1986

Madonna feature in the first issue of Celebrity Magazine in 1986

The 1980s marked a decade of change in the way that celebrities were treated. Magazines, particularly the weeklies, became either more fawning – as in Hello! – or adopted the techniques of tabloid journalism, as in this new magazine, Celebrity.

The language of this profile is sensationalist, with words like ‘raunchiest’ and the aggressive, red-boxed quote:

I’ve been called a tramp, a harlot, a slut, and the kind of girl that always ends up in the back of a car

Of course, Madonna played up to this raunchy image as a singer and actress as a way of generating massive publicity. And many magaziness and newspapers were keen to play along. The strapline is a pun on Desperately Seeking Susan, the film with Rosanna Arquette that made her name in 1985.

The original i-D cover – from Picture Post

January 10, 2015
The fifth issue of i-D with a manipulated image of Princess Diana as the first winking subject and cover lines that pun on i-D, Di and DIY

The fifth issue of i-D with a manipulated image of Princess Diana as the first winking subject and cover lines that pun on i-D, Di and DIY

Fashion magazine i-D was founded by former Vogue art director Terry Jones and the winking model has been a feature of the cover since its fifth issue in 1981 (note the unusual landscape orientation for the magazine). The winking face mimics the letters i-D turned on their side as an emoticon.

It seems that certain people cannot wink, so some subterfuge has to be found to cover up the subject’s right eye. Sade and Madonna can manage it, but Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss can’t! In the duotone blue image here, Princess Diana has someone else’s heavily made-up winking right eye posted over her own.

Vivian Blaine from the London stage adaption of the musical Guys and Dolls on the cover of Picture Post in 1953

Vivian Blaine from the London stage adaption of the musical Guys and Dolls on the cover of Picture Post in 1953

So this Picture Post from 1953 with Vivian Blaine from the London run of the musical Guys and Dolls caught my eye – as it may well have caught Terry Jones’ eye, for he was born in 1945 and is on record as being a fan of Dan dare in the Eagle, which was produced by Hulton, Picture Post‘s publisher. Blaine played the chorus girl Miss Adelaide in the Broadway and film versions of Guys and Dolls as well as in London, with ‘Adelaide’s Lament’ as her show-stopping song.

French dancer Colette Marchand was renowned for her legs and is here shown in the French ballet Cine-Bijou by Roland Petit

French dancer Colette Marchand was renowned for her shapely legs, Picture Post tells us, and is here shown in the French ballet Cine-Bijou by Roland Petit

Picture Post is frequently cited as an inspiration for magazine designers, for example for Michael Rand in his work on the Sunday Times Magazine. Although a groundbreaking magazine in photojournalism and its layout techniques, Picture Post was losing its way in 1953 and was focusing on a male audience with regular centre-spread pin-ups and gimmicks such as 3-D pictures. As well the Guys and Dolls feature, this issue of  Picture Post includes photographs of leggy French dancer Colette Marchand in a similarly-themed French ballet Cine-Bijou. She was renowned for her shapely legs, Picture Post tells us, and is here shown in the ballet by Roland Petit.

As well as looking forward 30 years to the winking i-D, the pointing Blaine image harks back 40 years to Alfred Leete’s pointing Kitchener cover from London Opinion in 1914, which was also used for the ‘Your Country Needs You’ first world war poster. This, of course, inspired many copies, including James Montgomery Flagg’s 1916 Leslie’s magazine cover – with its turgid cover line, ‘What are you doing for preparedness?’ – and the ‘I want you for US Army’ recruiting poster. Although the British did not reuse Leete’s Kitchener image in the second world war, Picture Post ran it as a cover in 1940 and the Americans dusted off Flagg’s image for their recruitment campaigns again.

Picture Post, i-D and London Opinion are discussed in my book, British Magazine Design, coming out in November from the V&A.

Joan Collins, Madonna and Kate Moss on magazine covers

December 22, 2014
Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail's Weekend supplement - 30 August 2014

Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement this year

When it comes to longevity as a magazine cover star, the prize has to go to the actress Joan Collins. I’ve identified her as far back as 1951 at the age of 18 on the cover of Tit-Bits and there can’t have been a year since when she hasn’t graced a magazine, from Picture Post, to Span, to Film Review, Woman, Playboy and OK! That’s 63 years a cover star.

But although she may not be showing her age – the Weekend supplement cover here is from August this year – Collins is getting on (she’s 81!), so who can rival her in future? Two names spring out –  Madonna and Kate Moss (far too early to consider Lady Gaga). So what are their chances of rivalling Joan Collins?

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Joan Collins had a massive boost to her career with the role of Alexis in Dynasty and such reworkings are vital to a long career. Madonna is back in the news at the moment over the ‘artistic rape’ she says she suffered because someone stole demo tapes from her new album. There’s no doubt the US-born singer and actress is a brilliant self-publicist. She has been recognised as the best-selling female record artist on record. Now 56, Madonna’s first Vogue cover was February 1989. Before that, she was a Smash Hits cover in 1984, when she was coming up to the age of 26. That’s 30 years as a cover star and, assuming she is still popular when she’s 81, another 25 years to go, total: 55 years of cover stardom.

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss turned 40 this year and marked it with a Playboy cover. Her modelling fortune was made by her appearance – as a scrawny 16-year-old – on a 1990 cover of style bible The Face shot by Corinne Day. Moss was the face of the Third Summer of Love (the others being 1967 and then the rave summer of 1988).

Starting at such an early age clearly gives Kate Moss an advantage. She has 24 years behind her and, assuming the 81 limit again, 41 years to go. Total: 65. That early start at 16 gives her a potential two-year edge on Joan Collins and a full decade on Madonna. Her first cover was on the Face, a relatively niche title, whereas Tit-Bits in 1951, the launch platform for Joan Collins, was probably selling a million copies a week. In contrast, Moss has been on a Vogue cover – frequently twice a year – just about every year since 1997, whereas Collins has never been on a Vogue cover.

On a personal level, Collins is on her fifth marriage – including Anthony Newley, one of the most gifted actors, singers and songwriters of his generation (Goldfinger title song, a dozen top 40 hits, roles in Dr Dolittle and Eastenders) – and has three children.

Madonna has been married twice – to Dead Man Walking actor Sean Penn and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie – and has four children. Moss has been married just once and has a child from her relationship with Dazed magazine co-founder Jefferson Hack.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether Kate Moss, or Madonna, has the staying power and the ability to appeal to such a wide range of people as Joan Collins.

WATCH OUT for my book on British Magazine Design, a highly illustrated large format hardback from the V&A

Heroines of the Western Front

November 17, 2013
Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm on the cover of Home Chat in 1918.

Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm on the cover of Home Chat in 1918 wearing one of the many medals they were awarded. The ‘heroines’ or ‘Madonnas’ of Pervyse were world famous

Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm were volunteer nurses who worked on the front line in Flanders with Belgian troops for most of the First World War – the only women working on the Western Front. Though their hospital was against British regulations, they carried on regardless, were lauded by the press and dubbed the ‘heroines of Pervyse’, hence their place on the cover of Home Chat, the best-selling women’s weekly of the time. Chisholm was just 18 when she volunteered with her motorcycling friend for the Flying Ambulance Corps. Once in Flanders, they set up their own, unofficial, first-aid station in the cellar of a collapsed house in the village of Pervyse. Their dug-out so close to the front was against regulations, but they carried on regardless, were lauded by the press and dubbed the ‘heroines of Pervyse’.

Knocker and Chisholm broke the rules to do their job, as did other pioneering women such as Edith Cavell, a nurse who was executed, and Flora Sandes – the only British woman soldier of WWI.

In 1915, Knocker and Chisholm were decorated twice by the Belgians. They were credited with saving thousands of lives and, as the only women working on the Western Front, were ‘les madones de Pervyse’ to the troops (the ‘madonnas’ nickname came from a shrine over the entrance to their dug-out). They toured Britain to raise funds for supplies and an ambulance.  The tragedy of their relationship was that … Read more

Magazines at war

Women in the First World War

London Opinion magazine and the Kitchener poster

Madonna on Vogue covers

April 30, 2012

Been hammering away on the book I’m writing about the history of magazine design and looking through some old Vogue covers. How’s this for the first Madonna Vogue cover in the US edition dated May 1989:

vogue 1989 may madonna us first

Anna Wintour was told this Madonna cover would not sell

Fashion Indie notes that editor Anna Wintour says she was told ‘[Madonna will] never sell’, but, in fact, newsstand sales rose 40% with the photo shoot. Strange that Wintour hadn’t checked with Liz Tilberis, her successor at the British sister magazine – ‘Brogue’ – which had run this Madonna Vogue cover in February:

Vogue front cover Madonna

British Vogue beat the US edition in having a Madonna photograph for its front cover four months earlier

Of course, Madonna has a reputation that has seen her described as having the ‘world’s most exploited belly button’ and she vies with Joan Collins and Kate Moss as the biggest magazine cover star.

Yet none of these Madonna Vogue covers can claim to be the first magazine to carry a Madonna photograph cover, because Madonna Louise Ciccone, to use her full name, had appeared on magazine front covers as early as February 1984 in Britain.

The British Vogue cover archive is online with the ability to search on date, model, photographer or editor, although not all covers are up. The first Vogue cover under Liz Tilberis was of Naomi Campbell – that model’s first appearance on the front of the fashion magazine.

One thing you’ll notice is that Madonna seem to reinvent herself for every cover shoot, as you’ll see from the first Madonna magazine cover in February 1984.


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design