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20th Aug 2018
Keys head of books Robert Henshilwood with the first ever Beano Annual sm

Comic fans will be converging on Norfolk at the end of this month when a very rare copy of the first ever Beano Annual goes under the hammer at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham.

The 1940 Beano Book was the first of 79 annuals published to date by the comic, and appeared just a year after the comic was first published by Dundee-based publishers DC Thomson.

Published right on the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, the annual had a small print run, and good-condition examples are extremely rare; it is expected to sell for between £1,200 and £1,500.

The Beano Annual is one of a number of comics and children’s books to go under the hammer at Keys’ two day Book Sale, which takes place on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st August.  The sale also includes a series of Rupert the Bear Annuals dating from the 1930s onwards.

“Beano is the archetypal kids’ comic, and it has been published without a break for 80 years,” said Keys head of books Robert Henshilwood.  “It is very rare to see a copy of the first ever Beano Annual, especially in such good condition, and we are expecting a lot of interest from collectors from right across the UK and beyond.”

The annual features comic strips, stories and illustrations, but does not include favourite Beano character Dennis the Menace, who did not make an appearance until 1951.

The Beano Annual will be auctioned on the first day of Keys’ two day Book Sale, which takes place on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st August at Keys’ Aylsham, Norfolk salerooms, and online at www.the-saleroom.com.  Full details at www.keysauctions.co.uk.

Ten Facts About The Beano

(source: www.dcthomson.co.uk)

  1. The word ‘Beano’ is a shortened version of ‘Bean feast’, meaning ‘a rowdy jollification’.
  2. During the second world war paper shortages meant the comic was reduced to 12 pages every two weeks.
  3. Dennis’ canine companion Gnasher is drawn using Dennis’ hair and adding legs
  4. After the second world war, the Beano Editor’s name was discovered upon a Nazi assassination list for ‘gross disrespect’.
  5. For the first few episodes of his story, Dennis DIDN’T wear his famous red and black hooped jumper. His mum was still knitting it.
  6. For six weeks in 1986, Dennis’s famous Abyssinian Wire-Haired Tripe Hound, Gnasher, went missing from the comic. He returned with six puppies.
  7. Dennis was originally sketched on the back of a fag packet, in a pub.
  8. There are only 20 surviving known copies of the first edition of Beano in the world.
  9. It takes about 25 people to make a Beano comic including: artists, writers, colourists and graphic designers.
  10. Lord Levison’s enquiry heard that ‘every newspaper apart from The Dandy and Beano’ was named in the investigation.