One of the Holy Grail's for collectors of British comics has to be the first issue of The Beano, published in July 1938 and worth an absolute fortune these days. With around a dozen copies known to exist, a copy coming up for auction gets plenty of coverage and it's interesting to see how prices have fared over the past few years.
Olly Driscoll is a big fan of The Beano and bought his copy of the first issue at a Compal auction in February 1999 for £6,820, as reported here by the BBC. The sale also made the TV news a couple of times and Olly has posted clips to You Tube. The first is from ITV...
.. and the second from BBC News 24...
I'm not completely certain where this next clip comes from but I'm guessing that it post-dates the 1999 Compal auction. I believe it might be from the 1999-2000 ITV show Find a Fortune which starred Carol Vorderman.
A second copy of The Beano number one was sold by Compal in December 2002. It was owned by a Lincoln man in his seventies who had kept it since childhood, hidden away in a plastic folder under his bed. It was estimated that the price could fetch over £3,000 and eventually sold for a new record to an unidentified Hertfordshire book collector. The Compal report (December 2002) gives the final knocked down price, including premiums as £7,565.
A third copy to pass through Compal in March 2004 sold for an astonishing £11,000 -- and when you add the 10% buyers' premium the total was £12,100.
Compal, again, sold a fourth copy in March 2006 with some margin tearing and foxing; this went for £4,401. This sale had included a 4-page advertising flyer, issued with D. C. Thomson's story papers ahead of the launch of the new comic which alone had fetched £462 in the summer of 2005.
Our last clip comes from the Richard and Judy Show from August 2006 and relates to the Autumn 2006 sale of a fifth Beano number one...
The copy on offer eventually sold below the estimate of £8,500. The Compal report stated that four bidders were willing to offer up to £7,000 and the winning bid came in at £7,750 (£8,525 with buyers' premium).
It would seem from these various sales and reports that the price of a Beano number one has kind of stabilised at around £7,000, which is about what Olly Driscoll paid for his back in 1999, although I suspect that finding a Beano complete with Whoopee Mask now would send the price soaring once again.