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2004 Market Report
THE BEANO NO. 1 SELLS FOR A £12,100 WORLD RECORD!
37 created a sensation in our March 2004 catalogue when it sold for a winning
bid of £11,000 (plus 10% buyers’ premium) at the auction’s close on 16th March.
The successful bidder, a businessman from Essex, was on the line from Copenhagen
that Tuesday evening to outbid two other determined bidders and claim the Beano
comic first issue as his hard-won prize, creating a new world record for a British
comic at auction in the process.
comic’s survival itself was just as amazing. It was collected by a tea-boy working
for Beano publishers D C Thomson in Dundee in 1938 when the first issue was launched,
less than six months after the phenomenally successful Dandy comic. He wrote on
the top margin of the front cover (in pencil, thankfully) “KEEP FIRST ISSUE” and
this his family duly did up until late last year when they contacted us and consigned
it for auction. Along with it were some “bits and pieces of memorabilia” as the
family put it, which were also given to us to “do the best you can”. These made
up lot 36 which comprised eight D C Thomson illustrated staff menus celebrating
Burns Night, two colour proofs of wartime Beano front covers, a further signed
menu from 1962 and a couple of photos of D C Thomson’s founders. Estimated at
£100-150, the lot eventually sold for a staggering £853 underlining the extreme
rarity of any of this publisher’s ephemera. Not bad for a few bits and pieces!
run of early Dandy issues, all offered separately, continued and there were substantial
differences in final bids between Very Good and Fine graded copies. Dandy comics
23 and 24 went for £97 each in [vg] and issue 24 in [fn-] made £346!
Morley was a faithful servant of the Thomson publishing house for many years illustrating
Keyhole Kate, The Magic Lollipops, Freddy The Fearless Fly and Hungry Horace.
He, along with Dudley Watkins, was the only artist allowed to sign his work and
even then he just penned his initials in the corner. In 1943 he signed and dedicated
two postcard-sized sketches of his many characters and it is rare to find any
Beano and Dandy artist’s work surfacing outside the artwork of the actual comics.
The Keyhole Kate espied £220 and Freddy Fly and his Friends a Fearless £333.
Here was a classic piece of 1940s Beano artwork by the prolific Dudley Watkins.
Lord Snooty And His Pals had to go back in time to recruit Robert The Bruce, Wellington
and Napoleon for a stand-up fight with Hitler, Goering and Mussolini. No prizes
for who won this hilarious contest which was brilliantly illustrated with some
darker propaganda overtones by Mr.Watkins. The page went for a mid-estimate £1,375
(£1,512 including premium), a price which may turn out to be an excellent buy
in the short term for this key piece.
rare cover artwork in full colour by Korky artist, Jimmy Crighton was bid to £1,300
plus premium and the new owner added this piece to his extensive collection with
some satisfaction as it was from The Dandy no. 71 of 1939, the second Easter number.
war issues of the Beano are always strongly bid and these Very Fine graded copies
firmly exceeded their estimates. With Pansy Potter parrying parachuting Nazis,
The Wild Boy Of The Woods taking on a German regiment and Lord Snooty selling
Mussolini ice-cream, these three issues realised prices between £120-138 each.
Jack Prout’s ever faithful Black Bob does not find his way on to the market that
often and this beautifully drawn action piece from The Dandy issue 551 of 1952
realised £228. We look forward to a further artwork being consigned to our next
catalogue in May.
Beano and Dandy comics from the 1950s and early 60s command £4-8 each in mid grades,
those two other stalwarts, Topper and Beezer have also risen to prominence in
the last few years. Our March catalogue contained around six hundred issues in
low to mid grades (They are difficult to find in better condition due to their
broadsheet format) and at £2-3 a copy they were snapped up in short order. Our
Fifties section also offered first issues of Beezer and Topper comics and they
realised £240 each in [vg] grades; a few years ago you could find similar copies
for under £100 each.
Weekly, often thought of as an Eagle comic clone, but much rarer nowadays, was
featured in two lots. The 1958 complete year of 52 loose issues were bid over
£4 per copy and a mixture of 1957/9 years made the same.
Commando Picture Libraries are still encouraging lively bidding and issues one,
two and three in mid grades commanded £338, £121 and £97 respectively.
Comic, that late Seventies organ of tasteful humour, continues to spark fierce
bidding amongst our customers. A No. 1 second printing went stratospheric at £425,
as did a Very Fine grade No. 3 at £440. High tags for Fat Slags.
#11 [vg+] had no major defects and flew to £366 which was £100 over guide for
this classic “unchained” cover. We offered The Batman #14 at No Reserve and this
low-grade [fr] Penguin Returns copy returned £133. Our Silver Age Amazing Fantasy
#15 realised £1,085 for this cents [vg] copy with colour- touched spine. There
is a lower grade cents issue of AF #15 consigned to our next catalogue in May.
The key Marvel titles of Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men and Fantastic Four all continue
to attract plenty of bidding as collectors salt away “second string” pence copies
at substantially lower prices than Overstreet Guide. This has been the case for
the last ten years as the US collectors and dealers show little interest in buying
or handling these UK “export” issues although they were printed at the same time
and on the same presses as their cents counterparts. All the more remarkable that
only five percent of the print run was UK price printed or stamped for export.
It is only when Silver Age comics are graded Very Fine or better that this disparity
in value begins to markedly decrease.
what makes the UK market so enjoyable and affordable. For all the comic fans out
there who actually fancy reading their comics from time to time, that old Thorpe
and Porter cover stamp is The Bat Signal, SHAZAM!, and a Metropolis phone-booth
all rolled into one.
Comic Book Postal Auctions, Ltd.