A complete RUN of the nine Broons Books issued in the years 1939-59 was the runaway success story of the Comic Book Postal Auctions sale that ended on September 2, with prices for the first four Christmas collections of the adventures of the occupants of No. 10 Glebe Street – Paw, Maw, Grandpaw, Joe, Maggie, Hen, Horace, the twins, and the bairn, collectively known as ‘Scotland’s Happy Family’ – bringing four-figure bids.
Drawn by the prolific Dudley Watkins, the Broons started life in March 1936 in the ‘Fun’ section of the Sunday Post and the Broons Books, compilations of the weekly strips in which the family’s adventures were conducted in a Glasgow vernacular that, in the early years at least, made the strip virtually impenetrable to Sassenach readers, were issued biennially at Christmas – the Broons annuals alternating with the Oor Wullie books.
The first two Broons Christmas books, for 1940 and 1942, are even scarcer than the early Beano and Dandy annuals and the copies seen in this sale were sold at £4455 and £3355 to the same collector, who then paid £1265 apiece for the third Broon Book, which did not appear until 1948 as a consequence of war shortages, and the fourth annual of 1950.
Copies of the 1952 and 1954 annuals sold at £780 and £348, but for the remaining three books prices dropped right away to the £50-80 right, from top to bottom, are the 1942, ’48 and ’52 annuals.
It seems that there are collectors who are particularly keen on the seasonal or special issues of comics – the Christmas, Easter, April Fool or Fireworks Day issues, for example – and here an example of the first Christmas issue of Dandy (No.4 of 1937) made £330, despite being one that had been “retrieved” from a bound volume, with a quarter-inch trim to the bottom and right hand sides and thus categorised as low grade.
An original Desperate Dan artwork by Dudley Watkins for the first April Fool issue of Dandy sold at £450 and a copy of that 1938 issue itself, in vg+ condition, made £225.
Described as “bright and robust” a copy of the first Beano annual, The Beano Book of 1940, sold at £3025 and there was a strong bid of £580 on a lot offering a complete set of issues of Beano for the year 1951, among them the first ‘Dennis the Menace’ issue, while a copy of the first Dandy-Beano Summer Special of 1963 sold at £200. The latter, though quite late in the history of these famous comics, is collectable as the first occasion on which characters from both comics were brought together and, because of its larger format, is hard to find in good condition.
Topper, I seem to recall, was also a large format comic, but the copies of the first and second issues of 1953 seen here were complete with the free gifts, a ‘Big Crack Bang’ and a ‘Swanee Hummer’ respectively, and brought record auction prices of £335 and £225.
Copies of the first issues of two girls’ comics of the 1960s, D.C. Thomson’s Mandy of 1967 and IPC’s Sally of 1969, were also offered complete with giveaways, ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Cameo’ rings respectively, and found buyers at £50 and £47, but the very next lot in the catalogue, an unbroken run of the first 147 issues of a girlie magazine for men, copies of Penthouse for the years 1965-77, brought a bid of £385.