The edition from May 1, 1939, with Joe DiMaggio on the cover, is likewise highly valuable. Life magazines with sports celebrities on the cover are among the most valued editions. As of 2014, the Joe DiMaggio 1939 edition sells for approximately $150. The Mickey Mantle cover from June 25, 1956, might sell up to $100.000 today.
These are only some examples. You can find out more about which issues are most valuable by looking them up on eBay or other online auction sites.
Issues prior to 1964 are relatively rare and difficult to come by. Even though they are not considered rare within the hobby, many older issues are still in good condition. Prices have increased over time but are still very much in line with other popular magazines of the period.
Issues after 1964 are much more common and easier to obtain than before. They are also less expensive than earlier issues. However, there are still quite a few that are in excellent condition and worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
It is important to understand that the value of any issue of Life will vary depending on how well it photographs. Any marks or defects on the cover will reduce the price that it will command. Other factors such as number of pages, quality of paper, etc. will also affect its value.
Overall, Life magazines are worth something between $10 and $1000.
The most valued issue of Life magazine is the April 13, 1962, edition, which featured Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris baseball cards and was covered by Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Each of these issues has been determined to be worth between $100,000 and $150,000.
Other notable editions include the October 31, 1950, issue, which features John F. Kennedy on the cover; the March 3, 2003, issue, which includes photos of 9/11 victims; and the November 8, 2012, issue, which marks the 80th anniversary of the magazine's first issue.
Life is published monthly by Time Inc. It is an international magazine that focuses on people, politics, science, technology, business, entertainment, sports, and lifestyle topics among others. The magazine was founded in 1952 by Henry Luce who aimed to promote awareness of world events and culture through informative articles written by some of the most influential journalists of the time. In addition to being a publication, Life is also known for its yearly series of photojournalism called "The Best Of" which highlights major events and artists across different genres of media.
The most expensive issue so far has been the August 1, 2013, issue, which features Madonna on the cover. The issue has sold for up to $140,000 per copy on the black market.
The most valuable copy of Life is the April 13, 1962, issue, which costs $200 and features Liz Taylor and Richard Burton on the cover. The pricing is expensive because there includes a Topps baseball card insert inside. Life magazines featuring Hollywood stars or members of the Kennedy family are particularly valuable.
Generally speaking, old time life magazines are worth between $15 and $50 depending on their condition. They are usually more expensive than current issues but less so than modern reprint magazines. For example, an original issue of Modern Photography is worth about $45 but another copy with different contents is only worth $10.
Old time life magazines are in high demand from collectors who want a piece of history. Many museums and private collections buy them to expand their coverage of popular culture from around the world. Others use the money they earn from selling old time life magazines to fund new projects.
Here are some examples of prices obtained for old time life magazines:
June-July 1965: $40-$45
January-February 1968: $55
April 1970: $85
August 1973: $120
December 1974: $175
March 1975: $225
September 1976: $275