The Beano is celebrating a very special birthday this July as Dennis the Menace and his sidekick Gnasher turn 70.
The duo first appeared in the Beano in 1951, and the magazine which launched in 1938 is the longest-running British comic ever.
Old editions of The Beano, and its sister comic The Dandy, are now worth serious amounts of cash, with the most valuable being the second-ever edition of the Dandy from 1937. Listed on eBay for £6,993.87, the seller admits the comic is “off-colour and grubby”, and even has worn edges with bits ripped off. However, it’s thought the comic is extra-special as it includes a jumping frog toy that came as a free gift with the comic.
It’s also worth checking to see if your older relatives still have a copy of the first-ever Beano annual, published in 1939. If so, it could reach up to £4,000 on auction website eBay, even if it is showing signs of wear and tear.
While British comics fetch considerable sums at auction, the real money lies in comics from the US featuring superheroes such as Spiderman, Batman and Superman, whose global appeal is reflected in the sums that their old comics command.
Comic collectors who want to own a copy of the first comic to feature Batman can expect to pay around $3.5million – which equates to approximately £2.5million.
You’ll also need a superhero-sized bank balance to obtain a copy of the first Superman comic published in 1939. The comic has been restored and retouched and sold for $3.25 million (£2.8m) in April. There are thought to be only 100 issues left of the first-ever Superman comic, pushing up its value.
But if you are a comic fan who doesn’t have a cool £2.5 million to hand you can still celebrate the 70th birthday of Britain’s favourite menace and his dog by purchasing a set of ten Royal Mail commemorative stamps, at the much more affordable price of £13.65. The Royal Mail website is also offering a Dennis & Gnasher framed stamp sheet, signed by Beano artist, Nigel Parkinson for £69.99.