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Winter 2007 Market Report


BEANO BOOK 1: 3100 - BEANO BOOK 2; 1601 - 00R WULLIE BOOK 3: 1347!

Beano
Beano Oor Wullie

This first Beano Book made an above estimate 3100, almost the same as a similar VG copy in our last auction in September. The surprise was the No 2, a much rarer item (we know of 5 copies) which spiralled up to an impressive 1601, close to a record for this 1941 year. You might think that an Oor Wullie Book 3 (1949) with a restored spine and some taped edges would not put too many smiles on the boy's 16 portrait cover, but the considerable price of 1347 was successfully bid for this lower grade article, testament to the rarity and enduring popularity of the wee lad and his adventures. Just as remarkable was the 775 bid for The Oor Wullie Book 1 with professionally attached facsimile front cover and 858 for The Broons Book 1 with taped cover, pieces torn away and brittle page edges. Watch out for a further run of early Broons and Oor Wullie Books in our March '08 auction. The grades will be higher.

Sexton Blake
Sexton Blake Sexton Blake

Sexton Blake continues to weave his spell as the rare first issue from the first series in 1915 was included in bound volumes 1-14 and 80-83. These 18 issues spiralled to 715. A further SB Library run 113-148 in 3 vols found a double estimate 475 and the scarce annual No 1 kept up the pace with 198. Sexton Blake stories featured throughout the Union Jack boys' paper and 47 issues of this title reached a more affordable 220. We will have a further selection in the New Year.

Bound volumeBound volume
Bound volume Bound volume

Our bound volume collection continues to attract strong bidding. The 1925 Boys' Friend Library lot included the second series 1-14 and a total of 36 issues made 231. Those 1920s Amalgamated Press stalwarts Champion and Triumph are now fetching 4-5 a copy in complete bound volumes, a price that has doubled in the last few years, albeit in higher grades which we had offered here. The November star of the 1930s titles was The Startler. We presented the complete run of 105 issues in five volumes with quite a number of free gifts and 550 was successfully bid for this FN/VFN rarity.

Desparate DanOor Wullie

Dudley Watkins drew a magnificent Xmas 1946 artwork for Desperate Dan where Dan and his nephew, Danny come to blows over a monster Xmas pud (for breakfast!) with aunt Aggie refereeing. Young Danny knits an Xmas stocking using telegraph poles as needles and their wire as wool and Dan gets trapped in it trying to deliver his nephew's 'tough toys'. 666 took this 'masterpies' away. In the Oor Wullie artwork oor hero thought his Ma had gone off and left him so he tried to be brave as the evening drew in. The friendly polis find her havin a blether in next door's back garden and the wee lad dissolves in tears promisin' never to be bad agin. The 623 proffered was also not bad.


Dennis the Menace

Dennis The Menace's artwork by Davy Law is rare, with only a handful of pieces selling in our auctions over the last 10 years. However this piece only just reached its reserve at 650. In sharp contrast was the interest in Beano comic No. 452 from 1951, Dennis's first appearance, which leapt to a record 291. Condition VG.

Black Bob

That Dandy Wonder Dog, Black Bob, drawn so well by Jack Prout, has a strong collecting base but that is generally due to the low prices that the books usually get. The No 1 book (published bi-annually from 1950) was taken to a very respectable 141, eventually being collared by a long time collector who told us he'd been after a decent copy for more than ten years.

Rupert

This original colour artwork showed Rupert with Chinese conjuror Dr Lion in 4-panel illustration from The Rupert Book of 1951. It realised 160 and there will be a further example in our first catalogue of 2007.

Eagle comics are not rare. The print run in the early 1950s was close to a million copies a week which was a huge amount for that or any other time. We offered the first ten years, year by year and 3-4 a copy was garnered for the 1950s, mostly in FN/VFN grades. Compare this to a decade later when TV 21's Captain Scarlet was fighting Dan Dare to the death down at the newsagents and in the process changing old England into a Supermarionation. The paper of Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5 and The Daleks now commands anything between 4 and 20 a copy and our lot 155 with a solitary TV 21 issue 141 and free gift 3-D Video Specs telescoped to 68. The Mekon shall not inherit the earth.

Artwork
Cor!! Artwork Artwork

Our artwork sales are broadening and that curate's egg of a decade, the 1970s, is beginning to appreciate and be appreciated by the 40-something collectors who grew up in it. Clever Dick's pal, Herbert, gives most of Granny's nice cake to the birds in the garden but Clever Dick's Birdie Glove Puppet swipes them just as their dogs, Napoleon and Tiger pile in for the scraps, turning the birdhouse in to a madhouse. With Leo Baxendale's rare signature in the margin, the artwork was snaffled up for 484 presumably by another clever dick. In 1970 Alf Saporito drew Gus The Gorilla for COR! and the cover artwork for No 1 saw its 250-300 estimate go ape to 440. Cor.

Mike Western's Robot Archie defeating the pirates and Commando tackling the Japs took this vibrant, all-action Lion cover to a double estimate 330.

Silver SurferSilver SurferHulk

With US buyers counting the exchange rate of their 'buy one - get one free' currency, that Sentinel Of The Spaceways, The Silver Surfer, proved excellent value in high grade for British bidders who rode the pipe with 175 for #1 [vfn/nm-] and 275 for #4 [nm-], both unstamped cents copies. At the other end of the grade spectrum, a lowly Hulk, gnawed at by Marvel chipping and defaced by a biro price, still pummelled 242 from his winning bidder. Bidder 0 - Hulk 1. 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1 has quite a few copies still in existence but high grades find 400-600 as matter of course. Our Near Mint Minus copy found 470, just below its lower estimate.

Looking at the 70s X-Men and our UK artwork of the same period highlighted above got me thinking what I was doing when The Maharishi gave way to Glam Rock as the Swingin' Blue Jeans were unceremoniously asked do they Wanna Be In Our Gang? I remember trying to be groovy in my maroon double-breasted velvet suit with highwayman collar (Lord John) and the white leather ankle boots with two-inch platform soles made for me by Dougie in the delicately named R. Soles on The King's Road. Of course my 18 inch trouser bottoms covered the boots completely so it didn't really matter what platform you were on and as it was the late Sixties you didn't care either. But the height, oh the height, I became a towering 5'10.

I used to work in my friend's clothes shop, Adler's, half way down The King's Road near the fire station. We sold jeans, men's and women's. In those days there were only two makes, Levis and Wranglers and Saturday afternoon was the time. That was when all the Chelsea girls used to come in and queue for their denim and cords. The 3 miniscule changing rooms could never accommodate the heaving cell we called the Trouser Department Downstairs. Naturally the changing rooms had curtains, which were cut a couple of feet off the ground so you could see if any of the gear was being trousered, so to speak. Or that's what we told the girls. Failing a decent view from that angle there was always the 30 second rule. This applied when you'd wait for a girl to step into the cubicle with her Levis to try on and half a minute later whip the curtain open with a friendly 'Can I help you with anything..?'

The fit always had to be tight and the zips were small and there was more than one occasion when I was forced to lie down next to a girl on the floor with her zip fastener gripped in a pair of red-handled pliers as I attempted to pull it up as she lay back and thought of EngIand. I had pals who wanted to pay me a multiple of my wages to work at The Trouser Department Downstairs.

Now I work at the comics department upstairs. It's not the same.

Malcolm Phillips
Director
Comic Book Postal Auctions, Ltd.

 

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