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2003 Market Report
September catalogue offered the first seven Broons Books, published biennially
by D C Thomson from 1940. Of particular interest to Scottish collectors, the adventures
of 'Scotland's Happy Family', written exclusively in the Glasgow vernacular, are
avidly pursued and the first two issues are rarer than the corresponding Beano
and Dandy annuals of the time, having been only distributed north of the border.
portrayed by legendary artist Dudley Watkins, or 'Watty', as he signed himself
in those early issues, the Broons dramatis personaye (sic) of Maw, Paw, Paw's
Paw, Hen, Joe, Daphne, Maggie, Horace, the Broon Bairn, the Ae Twin and the Ither
Twin first appeared in the Fun Section of the Scottish Sunday Post in 1936, becoming
so successful that their comic strips were compiled into the first Broons Book
a few years later.
1-4 were offered in individual lots and one determined bidder succeeded by paying
a total hammer price of £10,340.00 against very strong opposition, doubling our
upper estimates in the process.
to be outdone, the first Beano Book was bid to an above estimate £3,025.00. With
bright, lightly worn boards, tight spine and no dedication, this robust copy with
tan pages was graded as very good plus. The successful bidder told us he had no
strong intention to bid when viewing a week before the auction closed; at least,
that's what he told us (a canny bunch, our customers).
are collectors of Beano and Dandy comics who specialise in the seasonal issues
of April Fool, Easter, Fireworks and especially the snow-capped Christmas numbers.
So even a low grade copy of the rare first Christmas Dandy Comic (No. 4) created
keen interest. Retrieved from a bound volume with a resultant worn spine and two
trimmed sides, a solid £363.00 was needed to secure this single issue.
fresh early Dandy Comics that sold for £272.00 and 225.00 each, the second a keen
purchase as it is the first April Fool issue.
the Dudley Watkins' Desperate Dan artwork from the first April Fool Dandy comic.
Poor Dan gets attacked by Stretchy, The Great India Rubber Man but knuckle dusters
and bricks are just a tickle as Dan stretches Stretchy round a lamp post. £450.00
succeeded for this risible rarity from 1938.
offered some very fine grade Beano comics from issues 81-90 and they averaged
£70-80 each. By contrast, a copy of Knock-Out No. 4 published by Amalgamated Press
was bid to £61.00 in very good condition; probably as rare as D C Thomson's finest
but not as desirable or well known.
particular year of Beano comics did very well in only average grades. This was
1951, complete with all seasonal issues which made £580.00. It also included number
452 which introduced that shock-haired rascal, Dennis The Menace. This issue can
fetch from £100 upwards on its own!
large format Toppers continue to rise in value. You may remember we sold some
bound volumes of complete years within the last year for very high prices. This
September we offered the numbers One and Two with free gifts and they spiralled
up to a record-breaking £336 and £226 respectively. Without the relevant Big Crack
Bang and Swanee Hummer gifts these average grade copies may not have reached half
first compilation Summer Special will always be an important part of any D C Thomson
collection as for the first and only time it combined the characters from Dandy
and Beano in one comic. Add to this the difficulty in finding copies in higher
grades due to their larger format and the £220.00 high bid for this relatively
late 1963 issue becomes more understandable.
comics continue to find an appreciative audience and Sally 1 and Mandy 1 from
the late Sixties were bid around the fifty pound mark with their free gift rings
intact. That other girl's comic, Penthouse also had an appreciative audience and
a thirteen year unbroken run of 147 magazines made £385.00. (This collection weighed
so much that it cost over £35.00 to post, but we did manage the plain wrappers!).
the sleaze theme we offered five of Reginald Heade's lurid cover paperbacks from
the 1950s. These early 1/6d Hank Janson issues sold for a strong £212.00. Illustrated
above, one title is The Jane With Green Eyes, though her eyes would not appear
at first glance to be the lady's most distinguishing feature.
is not often that genuinely rare comic history is offered at auction, but the
first lot of our U S section included the dust-jacketed Seduction Of The Innocent
hard back book with author Fredric Wertham's signed letter to U K counterpart
George Pumphrey, just prior to publication in Great Britain. S.O.T.I., as it became
universally known, was the moral code enforcer for American comics in the post-war
era, outlawing gratuitous violence, lewdness and nudity to a thrill-hungry generation
of baby booming adolescents.
letter accused "the millionaire comic-book publishers" of threatening him with
violence and called the much publicised Comics Code a publicity stunt. He wrote,
"I know they have beaten up dealers who refuse to handle the worst crime comics...if
the British public lets up now all the bad comic books will come back again, like
in Canada...", and continued in that vein. Further correspondence from Pumphrey
and some relevant paperbacks made up the balance of the lot.
Wertham would have surely found it ironic that, half a century later, his own
damning critique would have been contested to £440.00 and brought back to the
United States by one of those selfsame salivating youngsters, so cruelly deprived
back then of his ten-cent titillation.
Golden Age key titles become rarer their enduring popularity keeps values high
and accessable to only a select few. We offered a selection of Batman, Detective,
Superman, Captain America and Wonder Woman comics, mainly brittle and well worn
but complete. The lowly grades varied between poor and fair, but high bids were
registered from £20-40 each over a range of twenty-seven 1940s issues in six lots.
A wonderful low-budget way of owning and reading the greats first-hand.
I was in school, another way of getting stuff second-hand was by that ancient
bartering method known as "swapsies". Many of the comics I read as a child were
obtained in this way and I always tried to increase my swappability by "borrowing"
the occasional packet of fags from my Dad's shop. I remember Player's, Gold Flake
and Craven "A", in those days sold in hideable little packs of five. My best deals
were always with a chum who was the son of an American army sergeant stationed
at the US airbase in Lakenheath, Surrey. His swaps were US comic books fresh from
the PX and they changed hands within moments of reaching the playground, one recipient
soon thrilling to the adventures of Bucky and Captain America whilst the other
choked to death behind the bicycle shed. Those were the days.
Comic Book Postal Auctions, Ltd.
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