Comic Book Postal Auctions

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Autumn 2003 Market Report

Broons Broons

Our 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.

Brilliantly 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.

Books 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.


Not 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).


There 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.


Two 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.

Desperate Dan

Here's 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.

We 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.

One 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!

Those 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 that value.

Dandy Beano

This 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.

Girls' 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!).


Continuing 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.

Seduction of the innocent

It 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.

Wertham's 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.

Fredric 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.

SupermanCaptain America

As 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.

When 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.

Malcolm Phillips
Comic Book Postal Auctions, Ltd.

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