RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

07 October 2007

Rupert Annual 1973



(Alfred Bestall.) THE RUPERT ANNUAL.The Daily Express, London 1973.

Current Selling Prices
$20,000+/£10000+


Rupert annuals are a popular series published by the 'Daily Express'. I am not sure whether today's children read them much but I remember them as magical books and alot of kids read them into their teens. Grown ups now pay serious money for the right ones. Some people found them slightly scary, but they would probably now find some of Harry Potter's encounters frightening. They still appear every day in the Express. Certainly they are highly collectable in England and possibly by British expats all over the globe. At the excellent World Collector's net they have a good guide to all Rupert collectables -not just books but records, 'plush' bears, various games, jigsaws and Lledo diecast vans, string puppets, and the Bendy Toys' rubber Rupert which could be posed in various ways. There are also many badges and brooches and 'pins.' Of the books they say:
A lady called Mary Tourtel was the creator of Rupert, and her first cartoon strip appeared in the Daily Express on the 8th November 1920. The little bear, in many ways similar to today's character though a bit more 'bear-like', and with baggier trousers, was shown setting out to the shops in the village of Nutwood. The caption was in verse.

Mary designed many of Rupert's chums, too, including Bill Badger, Podgy Pig and Edward Trunk and dreamt up the strange, almost surreal world of Nutwood which featured people in medieval dress wandering amongst a mix of incongruities such as clothed animals (who often kept unclothed animals as pets), 'normal' humans, and weird scientific inventions. Mary was fond of using magic to whisk her bear hero away from trouble; her successor, the much-respected Alfred Bestall who took over in 1935, relied on proper twists in the plot. He also introduced a host of new characters, such as Pong-Ping, Bingo Pup, the Professor, Merboy and Tigerlily.

Alfred drew the stories up till 1965, and his last adventure was 'Rupert and the Winkybickies', though he continued to work on the annuals. In 1973, he was upset when a white Rupert was featured on the cover, rather than the traditional brown. Alfred had planned his beautiful painting around a brown bear, and felt there was no contrast between the white Rupert and the pale sky behind him. He was also aware that, artistically, there should have been a shadow on Rupert's face. To appease the artist, a handful of annuals from that year were printed with a brown Rupert, and today, to discover a 1973 annual with a brown-faced Rupert is a collector's dream.


VALUE? A fine copy is appearing in auction at Duke's of Dorchester this week. It is estimated at £5000 to £7000. Another copy in a lot is estimated at £5000 to £8000. The fact that that there are two might give a hardened dealer pause for thought as there are only supposed to be about 15 in existence. Duke's, in a slightly different version of the tale, say: 'Alfred Bestall was asked to provide the cover illustration for the 1973 annual and as per his earlier designs, gave Rupert his usual brown face whilst the illustrations within the annual show Rupert with a white face. After printing a small run of the annual, the Express decided to alter Bestall's original colourings of Rupert, changing him from brown to white at the request of many young readers who could not understand why Rupert was brown on the cover but white inside. Bestall was incensed at this decision and never illustrated another cover for the Express. The remaining run of the 1973 annual with a white faced Rupert on the cover continued to use Bestall's signature but the publishers altered the colour of the signature to disguise it in an attempt to appease Bestall. The limited number of brown faced 1973 annuals printed makes this annual particularly rare and only 12 others are believed to exist.'

I shall watch this auction and report back. Early Rupert annuals can fetch good money and the 1936 annual can currently be found on the web in a jacket at the noli tangere price of £6500. The words 'one for the pension fund' are something of a red flag + Duke's have a jacketed one (under)estimated at £200 to £300. Most guide books price it at £2000 to £3000. Bonhams achieved a £1000 for one in 2004 and Bloomsbury £1500 in 2005. Whether anyone will care about Rupert in 2020 is unknowable-- I expect they will--but not as much as they do now. By then it might have become a bear market. Annuals from the 1960s and 1970s generally go for a fiver, they also have brown faced Ruperts on the cover--remember the annus mirabilis is 1973!

TRIVIA Paul McCartney gave Rupert a fresh lease of life when he wrote the song 'We All Stand Together' for an animated cartoon based on the froggy design of the end papers in a 1958 Rupert annual. This song was a hit in 1984 and the video 'Rupert and the Frog Song' won a BAFTA award. It was generally considered a low point in Paul's oeuvre until his appalling Starbucks Album of 2007 / 2008.

A French low alcohol beer is available called Tourtel --it is sometimes known to its waggish consumers as 'Rupert Beer' and is actually the only palatable 'near beer' I have ever consumed. Below is the 1973 annual in the version that you don't want. THE BROWN FACE IS ONLY GOOD ON THE 1973 ANNUAL. [ W/Q *** ]



STOP PRESS Result of the auction of the Chaplain collection is reported thus in today's 'Sunday Express' and seem marvellous, not to say freakish--the publicity could bring other copies out and if so the price may not be sustainable - watch this space:

'Yesterday one of the rare 1973 annuals went for £23,000 and the other for £22,000 at Dukes Auction House in Dorchester, Dorset. The previous record for a 1973 brown-face annual was £16,000. There were gasps of surprise as the bidding for the annuals rocketed past the pre-sale estimates.They formed part of a stunning collection of Rupert memorabilia put together by a later writer of the cartoon, Freddie Chaplain. The items went for more than £100,000. Auctioneer Amy Brenan, said afterwards: “It proves the enduring affection people have for Rupert Bear. Bidders came from all over the country and around the world.”The daughter of Freddie Chaplain, Deborah Taylor, was at the sale. She said: “My father died in 1981 and the collection has been in mum’s bungalow until this summer when she moved into a nursing home. She decided to sell it for her nursing fees and for peace of mind.”

Ms Taylor added: “When I was a young girl, my father told me Rupert stories off the cuff and he would write down the ones I liked.” Rupert Bear is set to make a Christmas comeback as one of this year’s best-selling toys...'

41 comments:

June the fourth said...

I have a Rupert Annual from 1974--Rupert has a brown face. Should I up my house insurabce. June

Bookride said...

June - sadly it's only the 1973 one that works and I have a feeling it's as scarce as hen's teeth. N

lynne said...

i have a 1977 annual with the brown face on cover and white inside, its in great condition, any idea if this is worth anything?

Thanks

Lynne

Anonymous said...

Hi i have a copy of the 1973 annual rupert as a white face on the front & inside its not in prestine condition is it worth anything? many thanks karen

mugwort the frog said...

Sorry --it's the brown face that you want in 1973. White face of modest value. You may find a copy at bookfinder.com or http://used.addall.com/

Anonymous said...

hi i have three rupert books 1961, 1971 and 1975 all with brown faces are they worth anything? thanks

mugwort the appraiser said...

Brown face only any good for 1973!!!!!
Check prices on abebooks but probably modest-- a million regrets...

trialnerror said...

How about this as an idea for a story: a dastardly collector called Aryan Covet, financed by the simple-minded peer Lord Cashcow, is on an evil mission to beg, borrow, buy or steal all the 1973 Brown Ruperts in existence. He secretly plans to recoup the borrowed money by publically destroying all copies but one, which he will then sell at his own price. However, his plan is foiled by Mz Ursula Sostiria (who had sold him a "Brownie" in good faith but then worked out his evil plan from Lord Cashcow, who falls in love with her). Together they manage to steal all Covet's 1973Rupert annuals, then exchange them for worthless photocopies, which he unwittingly burns on a public bonfire. Covet tries to get his
property back, but it is impossible to prove they ever belonged to him. It seems, one way or another, he has no claim to any of them and ends up incarcerated in a mental health institution.

SUSAN said...

so having a white face bear is worth..........£5
Just my luck that.
Hey but thanks to my dad to buying them for me since 1970 (and he still does, bless him)

Bob said...

One fact which is as certain as Adrian Mole is neurotic and Superman will never age is that until the end of time, people will wonder if brown-faced Rupert annuals that are NOT the 1973 one are valuable!

Anonymous said...

I am in a rush and can't read the stuff written....don't suppose1982 brown-faced is worth anything?

clare said...

i have brown faced 1969 and 1972..... worth anything ?

Spam said...

I have a 1941, 1945, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1974 and another old undated one.... Worth anything?

ellie said...

i have a brown faced cover white face inside rupert 1971 annual ,daily express

Anonymous said...

hi i have quite alot of rupert the bear books two are 1973 one with brown bear and one with white bear. any help or tips of where to start to sell them

Bookride said...

if you have the 1973 BROWN face (on cover) annual please email shop@anyamountofbooks.demon.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Hi during my spring clean, I discovered the following Rupert the Bear Annuals - all have brown faces on the covers and white faces inside the annual. They are 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1990 - 70th Anniversary edition with poster included. This is in excellent condition, although they have all been enjoyed by two generations. Any advice is welcome.

post modern bertie said...

THE BROWN FACE IS ONLY GOOD ON THE 1973 ANNUAL. All the rest are of insignificant value, terrible though it is to relate. Put on Ebay, might pay for a bottle of half decent Merlot...

Anonymous said...

I Have a Copy of the Rupert Annual of 1972 , 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988.
can anyone tell me if they have any value ?

and where can I take then to be sold ?

Anonymous said...

I have a 1973 brown face on cover signed by Alfred Bestall. The ONLY ONE of these that he signed. How much might it be worth?

PMB said...

loadsamoney--put it in auction.

Anonymous said...

I have the 1946 and 1949 Rupert annuals both very good condition. Wondering how much they are worth? I've seen the 1945 annual selling for £150 but thought they may be worth more? I had a lot more but mysteriously disappeared. I have the 1973 but sadly only white bear on front!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have a daily express rupert annual a brown faced bear on cover and white inside, on first page where publisher Beaverbrook newspapers is it states 1971 is this the date used to identify it? and how would i sell it and for how much?, the price is unclipped 43p and name has not been filled in its in excelent condition bar a bit of bruising on binding corners.
many thanks xx

Bookride said...

Brown face only any good for 1973!!!!!
Check prices on abebooks but probably modest-- a million regrets...

Andrew said...

Some years ago I visited a Bestall exhibition in London which included a lot of original Rupert Annual artwork and a copy of the famous 1973 brown face annual. After I got home I contacted the exhibition organiser to say that considering the value of this work the security was hopeless i.e. virtually none!. They muttered some feeble excuse and I left it at that. I found out some months ago from Bestall's goddaughter that a picture had actually been stolen from that exhibition and never recovered. Bet they wished they'd taken more notice of my warning!

Anonymous said...

I have a 1937 Rupert annual with pink face and no scarf. Is this worth anything?

Mugwort the frog said...

Andrew---If it is in decent shape a dealer might give you a £100 for it and try to double up...see abebooks.com

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of the above book. What can I do? Louise x

Bookride said...

Louise please email owner of Bookride charingx@anyamountofbooks.com
Many thanks

susan mary said...

i have a 1978 rupert annual brown face 0n cover and white inside. it has the name john harrold signed on the back. please let me know if it is worth anything

Anonymous said...

Hey rupert a got a whitey brown face on my 1973 annual how much is this worth.

Anonymous said...

white faced Rupert Bear is no good, but if brown please email charingx@anyamountofbooks.com

N

Anonymous said...

Hi I've got Rupert the bear .. 1973 with a white face and it is signed inside bestall the daily express annual .. is it worth anything ..

Anonymous said...

I also have 1979 signed by John Harrold . The daily express annual .. and 1971 & 1970 are these worth anything thanks toni.

Jot101 said...

You may find a bookseller near you at the PBFA site http://www.pbfa.org/sellingbooks.asp esp dealing in children's books but wjite face is not good, Bestall signature OK

Anonymous said...

I have a 1970 annual it has a brown face on cover and white inside, the inside has also been put in upside down. Is it worth anything, it's not in perfect condition.

Jot101 said...

Sorry 1970 upside down brown face not worth very much at all-- only the 1973.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Is anyone looking to sell the 1945 annual? I'm looking for my mums 70th birthday present. It's the on,y 1 missing from her Collection to date? Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have the 1961 annual - the hard back cover is one way up and the inside the other way. Is this worth anything ?

Jot101 said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hi. I have the 1961 annual - the hard back cover is one way up and the inside the other way. Is this worth anything ?

No. Just a printer's error but sometimes on eBay these work possibly in a minor way. Folk their think such things are rare and sometimes bid for such items, it worked with Potter a bit.

Raven said...

I think mine is 1973 but in bad condition is it still worth a lot?