Before there was an authoritarian source of information, I put together the finest collection of covers and illustrated articles by NR and when I showed and offered them to the director of the museum David Wood and his young assistant Laurie Norton, they traded we an orinal piece of Rockwell art (the only one ever to leave the museum's collection) for I had the privilege of showing his early work to his last wife, Molly, and his children, the oldest of which I still see on occasion. When the now director, Laurie Norton Moffatt put together and published a two volume catalog raisonee of Rockwells work (still the ultimate source), my collection was credited in it as the key acquisition that made it possible.
All this is a pretext to saying that I think I can speak with a reasonable degre of authority on the subject of Rockwell covers. A still keep a drawer in my collection for the rarer items I have acquired and kept. Rockwell illustrated well over 500 covers (321 for the Saturday Evening Post alone between 1916 and 1963) in his lifetime. These are the rarest.
These two come from an in-house magazine for Edison Mazda Lamps (later General Electric).
I've only seen them once and there may be others (my vote for the rarest, the unseen copies of this title. Incidentally, there are at least three Maxfield Parrish covers as well. Probably the rarest of any by this distinguished and highly collected Icon of illustration.
I've never owned this one and have only seen this one copy
Likewise with this one, which, until it appeared on ebay, I did not know even existed. I bid up to $350 but lost it.
I found this one at a pulp convention in Dayton for $1 and have never seen another. Rather amazing since the original circulation was in the tens of thousands.
I had only seen this one once until it recently showed up again on ebay.
So these are the rarest of the bunch. Many literally once in a lifetime finds and I dare say that over the years I've seen more Rockwell magazine covers than anyone else on earth!
Its been fun to share them with you.