Worlds Biggest Beano Collector Worlds Biggest Beano Collector
This is one man who's never short of something to read - after he spent 20 years building up one of the world's biggest collections of COMICS. Phil Shrimpton owns every single copy of children's favourites the Dandy and the Beano that were produced during what he considers their 40-year-prime period - and loves the comics so much he's even started a BUSINESS trading them. Phil, 30, from Brighton, Sussex, has collected more than 4,500 copies of the famous magazines - which charted the adventures of Dennis the Menace, Beryl the Peril and Desperate Dan.And his lifetime collection - which takes up most of his living room - is worth thousands of pounds.
Phil, who works full time as a civilian police worker, said: "I first became interested in comics when one of my friends got a fairly big collection. "I enjoyed reading them and I immediately decided I wanted to have a bigger collection than my friend - so I started buying as many as I could. "I got a paper round and saved up all the money I could, and went scouring book fairs and second hand shops looking for them. "I persuaded my parents to take me to the Hay-on-Wye literary festival, which is where I found some of my best editions. "It became a real passion - the more I collected, the more I liked them, and I continually tried to buy items in better condition, replacing what I already had in some cases and then selling on my spares. "I've been collecting since the early 90s, and obviously, since the internet and auction sites like eBay have come along, it's been a lot easier for me to add to my collection.
Phil is believed to be the only person to own every single copy of the Beano and the Dandy that were published at the height of their popularity - between 1948 and 1988. As well as owning every comic, every Christmas annual and every Summer Special, including a rare 1963 edition where the Beano and Dandy joined forces in the Dandy-Beano Summer Special. The comic-obsessive even has hundreds of the free gifts that came glued to the front of the comics - everything from balloons to whistles. However, he admits that every child's favourite giveaways - the free sweeties - are hard to come by. And despite each annual selling for an average of 6 shillings - approximately 30p - and each weekly magazine setting kids back just two shillings - when they were published, some of Phil's annuals would now fetch up to £3,000 if he were to sell them. The early editions of the comics regularly sell for up to £1,000 at auction - although only very few copies are still in existence.
He added: "For me, it's not about how much my collection is worth - it's about the buzz of the chase of seeking out a rare item, trying to find the best possible examples and appreciating the wonderful artwork of the comics. "Although I bought the comic myself from newsagents in the early 90s, after reading a reprint compilation Beano and Dandy Book, published by DC Thomson at the time, I soon developed a love for the older comics dating back to the 1930s.
After 20 years building his own comic collection, Phil has now opened his own business, trading in collectible comics - which all helps him add to his own stash. Phil added: "My friends and family all take the mickey a bit, but they're generally very supportive of my hobby - even my girlfriend, who has to live with them all in the house. "I do try and file them away neatly though - I have two huge bookcases full of the magazines, as well as some of the collection stored away at my parents' home. "It might sound a bit sad, but you do always come across the same people when searching the internet or book fairs for comics, and it's a very social hobby. I've made some great friends who have the same interests as me. "When I was a teenager, I kept my collection pretty quiet from my schoolfriends - it probably wasn't considered very cool - but I'm definitely proud of it now. "Ever since I was 12, nobody has ever struggled to know what to buy me for Christmas or birthdays - even thought the rectangular present under the tree is never much of a surprise, I'm always chuffed to bits." The Beano and the Dandy are both famously published by Scottish publishers DC Thomson. The first edition of the Dandy appeared in December 1937, while the Beano, home to Dennis the Menace and the Bash Street Kids, was first published six months later in July 1938. To visit Phil's comic trading website, visit phil-comics.
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