Sunday, December 12, 2010
Rare first issue of Happy Days fails to win bids
Bidding has just ended on eBay for a copy of Happy Days No.1, the first photogravure (glossy) comic published by Amalgamated Press, dating back to 1938. With the starting price at £195 the comic failed to attract any bidding.
The lack of movement on this item surprised me, as it is indeed a very rare comic. As the seller hamer8 said in its description: "To put it in context. The first Beano? We've had five or six through our hands. The first Dandy? Four or five. These comics sell for 4 and 5 sterling figure sums. They are iconic titles and genuinely SCARCE. Happy Days we have only ever had TWICE including this one. In fact we've only seen any of the 45 issued twice."
I've never seen any issue of Happy Days on sale on eBay before, or at any comic mart, and I have been looking. Such is its rarity. As for its historical importance it boasts some of Roy Wilson's finest work, and in full colour. As a photogravure comic published at a time when most comics were black ink on cheap coloured paper it was a luxurious standout title. A landmark in the history of comics.
In which case, why didn't it sell today? For one thing the expensive run-up to Christmas wouldn't have helped. Most people who are fortunate to have families would have other priorities for their savings. Secondly, collectors are usually inspired by nostalgia and, sadly, the number of people around with pre-war nostalgia become less and less each year. Even those that are still with us may balk at paying £195 out of their pension for it.
I collect old UK comics but I didn't bid on this one because the price was higher than I'm willing to pay for one comic. It was tempting but I've spent enough this year on old comics as it is. Some people do pay such prices of course, and much more besides, as proven by the record sums that first issues of Dandy and Beano have sold for. However, Dandy and Beano are well known brands, so purchasing their early issues is a reliable investment. Unfortunately, Happy Days, although a rarer comic, simply isn't known outside of collecting circles, and even then the younger fans may not have heard of it. (It might be unknown to some older fans too, as it only ran for 45 weeks!)
Anyway, a non-news story in a way, but I found it surprising that such a rare comic didn't attract any attention at all. The same seller has several other old UK comics up for auction at present so if you want to bid on pre-war issues of Knockout (currently at much cheaper prices than Happy Days) and treat yourself for Christmas now's your chance: