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2005 Market Report
WULLIE BOOK 1 FETCHES £4000!
wee lad has done it again with a new record in our September auction of £4,015
including 10% buyer's premium. The early Oor Wullie books, issued every other
year, are genuinely rare, only being distributed in Scotland, and there are only
five copies of Book 1 known to exist. A piece of his original artwork from 1941
fetched a winning bid of £770. The adventure has Wullie spending nearly the whole
episode in his new suit so the lads couldn'e get at him but finally taking the
fecht to the three o' them in the last panel and ending up wi' a thick ear an'
a jeely nose! One of our customers has told us how Oor Wullie came into being
in 1935 and his true story is at the end of this report.
Happy Family, The Broons, are still going strong and their artwork, as always
by Dudley Watkins, continues to attract top prices. The wonderfully evocative
cinema piece from 1954, illustrated above, was from the frontispiece of the The
Broons Book for that year and realised an above estimate £825. A beautifully crafted
story around the colour of Paw's cardigan, later updated to Pa's pullover for
a 70s reprint which also saw the skirts of all the lasses raised to knee height,
raised a knee jerking £990, well above estimate. A further lot was the artwork
for one of only two Broons jigsaw puzzles ever produced and the box illustration,
showing a twinkle-eyed Pa and the family in silhouette, made £385.
cinema theme continued into a piece of Desperate Dan artwork from1939 when Dan
breaks in (and breaks) the kids' nursery rocking horse then pulls the roof off
the local cinema and a horsy statue from the town square to make a new bigger
rocker for them. His rock-a-bye rhyme and a successful £550 bid completes the
had never offered a copy of the first Gem (1907) before and a clean issue retrieved
from a bound volume made £145. The Rover No 1 with its free gift Footballer Real
Photos still intact was a real bargain for a canny successful bidder and even
in its low grade of Good it was well worth the £95 winning bid. The No 3 Rover
illustrated above also garnered £44 with its free photos included. All this was
put well into perspective by The Wizard No 1 which, including its original flyer,
conjured up a massive £385 with issues 2 and 3 making £55 each. In later years
The Wizard was always favoured over D C Thomson's other story papers largely due
to that world beating sportsman, Wilson, whose exploits and adventures had every
boy swapping comics and their own marathon stories in the playground during dinner-break.
bound volume collection, being offered over several catalogues, continues to gather
pace. Boy's Cinema 1-29 from 1919 included all free gift "art plates" and these
file copies were in unusually high Fine/Very Fine grades. £297 was the above estimate
winning bid but still a very reasonable buy for Charlie and his friendly mutt.
first ten issues of Kinema Comic (1920) were taken to £320 with the bonus that
anything that features The Master Of Mystery, Houdini, is always going to attract
cross-over bidding from Magic memorabilia collectors who are consistently searching
for early prints, posters and photographs of the early prestidigitators.
volume of The Ranger comprised the last 26 issues of the old series and the first
21 of the new. The combination of true life feats and adventure stories like the
illustrated "Big Gorilla Thriller" were extremely popular in their day as were
non pc strips like "Jim, Buck & Rastus". £209 found them a new and appreciative
audience. The Thriller featured weekly detective and adventure yarns where writers
like Leslie Charteris cut their teeth before moving on to more saintly pursuits.
26 early issues, again in high grades, were contested to £220. Case solved.
Crystal, soon to be renamed Girl's Crystal, is rare in its early issues and 1-62
in three bound volumes and high grades was chased to £300, the jolly hockey sticks
of Film-Struck Kay and the machinations of Mazda, The Girl Who Knew No Pity extracting
a full price for their adventures. School Friend is just as well regarded and
issues 1-33 found a supplicant £193 for The Girls Of St. Kitts. Talking of girls,
Big Eggo was certainly one as her eggs were often the centre-piece of her front
cover Beano adventures. The fact is she was often referred to as "he" but nobody
seemed to mind that much.
latest offer of a Beano No 1 featured Big Eggo's first front cover adventure and
had a part torn away back page which met with some head-in-the-sand resistance
as the £3,700 lower estimate was not pecked at. After the auction's close a £2,700
bid was accepted by the vendor, who realistically adjusted his reserve price to
get his cherished, though tarnished No 1 sold and away. Other early Beanos between
issues 41 and 49 were all offered separately averaging between £112 and £154 each
with a beautifully bound volume of 1949 issues contested to £720.
Fifties and Sixties are still finding ever expanding ownership and our bound volume
collection featured The Comet for 1953. This was an era when full colour printing
really brought the genre alive and Kit Carson, Buffalo bill and Dick Barton leapt
luridly off the page. £290 was the multi-coloured winning bid.
Marvelman comics by publisher L Miller normally sell for a few pounds each but
issue 25 was actually No 1. Originally entitled Captain Marvel Jr., US owners
Fawcett went out of business after losing their lawsuit with Superman rights holders,
D C Comics. Consequently Miller had no more strips to reprint and Captain Marvel
became Marvelman and Junior went too. Thus £115 was the high-flying winner for
Young Marvelman's first issue.
Knockout volume featured the last issue prior to absorption by Valiant and these
30 issues from 1962-63 made a valiant £331. Lion was in its heyday in 1964 and
the adventures of Paddy Payne, Robot Archie and Don Lawrence's magnificently drawn
Karl The Viking soared to £605 from a £120 high estimate.
Hornet 1-50 was offered in one lot and the one thing you can say about publisher
DC Thomson is that their consistent high quality publishing carries right through
to the free gifts. No 1 had its magnificent Balsa Wood Glider, No 2 its Catapult
Skimmer and Nos 3 and 4 their Football and Great Goals Photo Albums. With the
comics themselves in grades ranging from Very Fine to Mint it was no wonder that
an equally very fine bid of £418 saw this pristine collection settle at its new
on an anthology of soldiers' letters written in the trenches during World War
1, Charley's War was conceived by Pat Mills and based on fact. "Battle" editor
Dave Hunt persuaded artist Joe Colquhoun to come off his immensely popular air
story "Johnny Red", where his natural gifts for characterisation and realism had
amassed an army of fans. Mills then gave Charley's character some perspective
by introducing the adventures of his friend, Blue, a French soldier at Verdun
whose daring exploits are illustrated above. To our knowledge, this was the first
piece of Charley's War original artwork to come up for auction and £330 for this
1980 page perfectly reflected Colquhoun's work. We will be offering the second
of our three-piece consignment in our next catalogue in November.
US section was well represented with a neatly restored Human Torch # 7 at £220
and a complete run of cents copies Amazing Spider-Man # 1-129. In Fair grade the
first issue was well taped to its edges but still complete and it raised £242
underlining the popularity of The Silver Age's most enduring super-hero. A Good+
cents copy of The Avengers # 1 also did well with £182 winning this example with
no major faults. Please see our Prices Realised
section for all the other winning bid details.
1935 there was a management meeting at D C Thomson in Dundee with the sole purpose
of thinking up a new character to try and capture the essence of Scottishness
that had so brilliantly been achieved with The Broons family that same year. The
meeting went on for a long time with no wee light bulb illuminating the proceedings
until there was a knock on the door from the manager's son who came in wanting
to inquire if pa was ever comin' hame for his tea. Framed in the doorway was 8-year-old
Ron Low, dressed in dungarees and carrying a bucket with which he had been potato
picking at the family small-holding. Oor Wullie was born in that same frame.
Watkins was given the job of illustration and the cheeky lad on
his upturned bucket started and finished each comic strip in the Sunday Post Fun
Section from 1936 onwards with his books coming out every other year up until
the present day.
time went by Oor Wullie's origin wasn't referred to again, after all Ron was soon
a young man and it would never do for comic characters to be seen to grow up.
Low graduated from St. Andrew's University to medical school, finally swapping
his blue dungarees for green scrubs as a fully qualified surgeon. He then trained
as a pilot at RCAF Gimli in Manitoba, Canada and flew jet aircraft after WWII.
Returning to Scotland some years later, Ron lived in Inverness next to former
WWII Lancaster bomber pilot Tommy Ross who took him along to the Air Crews Association
Highland Branch where "Oor Wullie" was promptly enrolled by branch secretary,
Don Owens. Don is a WWII veteran Halifax bomber flight engineer/co-pilot and we
are indebted to him for this story. Ronald Waterson Low, MB CHB DPH died at home
in Helensburgh, Scotland on 10 February 1992.
bless Ron Low and long live Oor Wullie.
Comic Book Postal Auctions, Ltd.