Comic's first edition sells for record pounds 6,200

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The Independent Online
A COPY of the first edition of The Beano, priced at just two old pennies in 1938 - less than 1p - sold yesterday at auction for pounds 6,200, the highest price paid for a comic in Britain.

But the new owner, Oliver Driscoll, 25, from Matlock, Derbyshire, who grew up on the exploits of Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, said he had received excellent value for money.

"I've always been a big fan of The Beano, and a first edition is something I've long since had my eye on," he said.

The comic, dated 30 July1938, is one of only six copies of the first edition in existence, and its value was boosted enormously because it came with the only known surviving Whoopee mask, a cover-mount that was given away free to readers.

The present-day editor of The Beano, Euan Kerr, said: "In those days, a comic was a completely throwaway item and nobody would have thought of keeping them, which is why they are so rare."

The existence of this first edition came to light by pure chance, he explained: "The chap who owned it happened to see an auctioneer on television talking about the value of first editions and realised that he had still got a copy in the loft."

The first edition features Big Eggo the Ostrich, but includes none of the characters from The Beano of 1999. The only names familiar to modern- day readers will be those of Lord Snooty and his pals.

Few other comics would have the potential to fetch such a price, said Mr Kerr: "The Beano is so much a part of the fabric of British life."