First Ever British Comic sells at auction for over £2000

The Glasgow/Northern Looking Glass (1825)

The Glasgow/Northern Looking Glass (1825) – Believed to be the first ever British comic.


Potentially Britain’s first ever comic title, a rare offering of the Glasgow/Northern Looking Glass Issues 1-13 in the latest Comic Book Auctions in a bound volume have sold for £2,350 – well over the estimated sale price of of £400-500.

“To our knowledge, this was the only set not publicly owned and a concerted bidding war ensued,” Malcolm Phillips at Comic Book Auctions tells us. “Owned by a map collector, this volume was in a parcel of maps he bought of the same period and called us in when it was discovered at the bottom.

“Generally believed to be the first comic (although there is some dispute on this via illustrative strip stories of the time) its record price underlines its importance.”

The four page Glasgow/Northern Looking Glass was published by John Watson and illustrated by William Heath encompassing the humorous and satirical content of the day. Royalty, the clergy, politicians and foreign affairs were all lampooned with punning regularity. Not even Glasgow’s great and good escaped Heath’s acerbic pen!

Two issues in the lot were stamped with the onerous ‘knowledge tax’ stamps that made the comic papers unaffordable to the masses at which they were aimed. Originally running to 19 issues there are only a few collections in existence.

Comic Book Auctions run four auctions a year that include numerous British comic lots. You can find out what some of the recent items sold for on the sale-room web site, including Dan Dare and Fleetway comics art and more

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: Auctions, British Comics, downthetubes Comics News

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