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3rd Apr 2019
Not Desperate Dan Daniel Smith of Keys Auctioneers Book Department with the 1939 Dandy Annual sm

Comic fans will once again be converging on Norfolk later this month when a very rare copy of the first ever Dandy Annual goes under the hammer at the same auction house which last year sold a copy of the first ever Beano Annual for £2,700.

The rare and sought-after book will be sold by Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham as part of a two day Book Sale on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th April.  It has a pre-sale estimate of £1,200-£1,500.

The 1939 Dandy Monster Comic was the first of 81 annuals published to date by the comic, and appeared less than a year after the comic was first published on 4th December 1937. 

The annual features many of the characters which would go on to be household comic names, such as Desperate Dan and Korky The Cat.  It was published late in 1938 with a cover price of 2/6.

Dandy continued until December 2012 in printed form, and then for another six months online, before being discontinued by publisher D.C.Thomson – although annuals and occasional summer specials continue to be published.

Last year there was significant national media attention when Keys sold a copy of the first ever Beano annual from 1940, with the book making £2,700, twice its midpoint pre-sale estimate.

“Along with The Beano, The Dandy is the archetypal kids’ comic, and in fact it pre-dates its stablemate by about a year,” said Keys head of books Andrew Lindsay-Bullock.  “It is very rare to see a copy of the first ever Dandy Annual, especially in such good condition, and we are expecting a lot of interest from collectors from right across the UK and beyond.”

The two day Book Sale also includes a number of rare first editions, including a 1831 first illustrated edition of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, and a 1972 first edition of Richard Adams’ ‘Watership Down’.

The ‘Dandy Monster Comic’ will be auctioned on the first day of Keys’ two day Book Sale, which takes place on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th April at Keys’ Aylsham, Norfolk salerooms, and online at www.the-saleroom.com.  Full details at www.keysauctions.co.uk.

Ten Facts About The Dandy

  1. The Dandy was first published in December 1937, costing 2d – including a free whistle.
  2. The comic was the first to used speech bubbles rather than captions under each frame.
  3. The editor of The Dandy from its inception right up until 1982 was Albert Barnes, whose chin was said to the inspiration for Desperate Dan’s chisel-jawed good looks.
  4. The longest-running strips in the comic were Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat, both of which appeared in the very first edition.
  5. The strip Bananaman was added to the comic in 1985, after the declining Nutty comic was merged with The Dandy.
  6. Thanks to The Dandy and The Beano, Dundee, home of publisher D.C.Thomson, became known as the comic capital of Britain.  A statue of Desperate Dan was installed in the city’s High Street in 2001.
  7. In 2012 The Dandy featured on a set of stamps issued by The Royal Mail to celebrate Britain’s rich comic book heritage.
  8. Sales of The Dandy peaked at over two million in the 1950s; by the time the print version was discontinued in 2012, the circulation had fallen to just 7,489.
  9. A total of 3,610 editions of The Dandy comic were published in the 75 years from its launch until its final print edition.
  10. A copy of the first ever edition of the comic sold for more than £20,000 in 2014 - the highest price ever paid for a British comic at auction.