THE Beano's number one fan was trembling with excitement yesterday after paying [pounds sterling]6,200 for its first edition.
Oliver Driscoll's auction bid was the highest price ever paid for a comic in Britain and more than half a million times its 1938 cover price of twopence - less than a penny in today's terms.
Its value was boosted because it came with the only known surviving Whoopee mask, a cover-mount given away to readers.
Mr Driscoll, who was 25 last week, described his buy as 'a bit of a birthday present to myself'.
After outbidding an English businessman who lives in Australia, he said: 'I've just spoken to my mum. She didn't believe I'd bought it at first. It only cost 8p when she used to buy it for me when I was five.' The freelance camera-loader from Matlock in Derbyshire, who is currently working on ITV's Peak Practice, added: 'I'm very shaky still.
This comic is like Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers to me - but I think I might have got a bit carried away. I was pretty near my limit. I'm back at work this week - I've got to get back to start paying for this.' The first edition features Big Eggo the Ostrich, who became famed in wartime for eating German bombs, but includes none of the characters from the Beano of 1999. The only names familiar to modern-day readers are those of Lord Snooty and his pals, a fixture in the comic until they were scrapped in 1992.
Mr Driscoll's favourite characters are Dennis the Menace, the Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx. …