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The price achieved for that copy was a strong one, at £2500, but that radio spot brought a response from a listener that was to see Rupert involved in an even costlier adventure. An elderly Derby resident called Bamfords to say that she too had a copy of the first Rupert annual, and what is more, her copy was still in the box in which it had been delivered.

Bearing a Daily Express despatch label and an old LMS railway label, indicating that carriage had been paid for home delivery, the box had been carefully opened, but the book itself had seemingly never been read. In a virtually mint dust wrapper designed by Alfred Bestall, it was described by the Derby cataloguer, with a nod to a certain well known lager, as “Probably the finest 1936 First Rupert Annual in the World”.

Everyone seems to have agreed. On September 9 it sold at a record £6300 (plus 15 per cent premium).
Some readers may wonder why the very first Rupert annual should be called The New Adventures of Rupert. Though the annual, issued in the autumn of 1936, was made up of reprints of stories that had appeared in the Express over the past year, the title was an acknowledgement that Rupert had been around for considerably longer than that. Rupert, or ‘The Little Lost Bear’, had been created in 1920 by Mary Tourtel, the wife of a Daily Express editorial executive, in response to the success of the Daily Mail’s Teddy Tail and the Daily Mirror’s Pip, Squeak and Wilfrid, and although Rupert books had appeared in the 1920s and ’30s, it was not until Mary Tourtel retired in 1935 and Alfred Bestall was recruited to produce the artwork, that the idea of an annual was mooted. Hence the New Adventures.