Offbeat Video

By Aliki Kraterou

A comic connoisseur dubbed the world’s biggest Beano fan quit his job after making up to £25K reading the mag over its 80-year history.

Phil Shrimpton, 37, has been a big fan of Beano since first buying it with his pocket money aged 9 and over his lifetime has racked up a 2.500-strong collection.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

In 2016, he was able to leave his job as a local government crime scene investigator after selling 5000-6000 auctions lots per year, which would be around 2000 comics a month, on eBay for up to £8.5000

But the Beano birthday luck most be in operation for him this week – as a super rare edition sold in honour of the mag’s 80th birthday tomorrow [MON] is set to sell online for more than £25,000. [TUE]. 

Dad-of-one Phil, from Sollihul, Birmingham, lives in Hertfordshire, said “Its struck me when I was just about nine years old, I think the antiauthoritarian style is what kids usually like at that age, they aspire to be the character in the comic.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

“The artwork is fabulous, I always loved the level of the original artwork, the details, it’s all perfect.

“I grew up reading ‘Beano’, I absolutely love it, it has always been close to my heart.

“I would say I’m the biggest ‘Beano’ collector- I have a large collection of comics, annuals, special free gifts which are quite rare, bangers, balloons, toy clickers and puppets.

“I have about 2000-2.500 comics- my wife thinks I’m a little crazy, but she knows my passion and she’s very supportive, she knows I want to provide for my family.

“I am well organised , I have lots and lots of boxes in storage and I take out several boxes a month tp offer a nice variety for my customers in my E-bay auctions.

“’Beano’ has definitely changed over the years- it started as big long stories, it became a pure comic in the 1950s and it would always adapt to the spirit of each time.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

“It still sticks to the same formula, the same principles, it is still fun and full of jokes, it just has to keep up with the times- It has to compete with today’s technology and digital tools.

“The editors have always tried to adapt according to the kids’ opinions- and the popularity of each character.

“Even though it is now my job, I am still a collector-my goal is to find more original artwork, free gifts,  balloons from 1960 that are very rare, posters that are slightly unusual- you just never know what will turn up in somebody’s loft.”

“My favourites are the summer specials, they got really nice covers, bright colours and they are hard to find in a good condition-most kids would read in on the beach, so they are usually full of sand and ice-cream.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

In the year 2000, while studying at the University, Phil discovered eBay and was instantly amazed by the excitement of biding and started collecting and selling to other collectors as himself.

On 2005 he started a career in the local government, in Brighton, setting up a small business as a hobby on his spare time- only to realise a year after that his business was becoming more than a hobby.

But by 2016, Phil was raking in up to £20-30 for comics from the 1950’s, while the special/ celebratory issues such as  Christmas, Easter, summer or fireworks could double the price, which meant he was able to leave his job and focus entirely on his comic business.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

Now he has his own vintage comic auction business as well as auctioning collections on behalf of others, and the flexibility means it is easier for him to look after son 2, Alfred.

“He is a little young at the moment but I will surely try to introduce him to ‘Beano’

He moved with his family to Hertfordshire- and had the chance to create a stock room and set up a location independent e-bay business.

He absolutely loves his job now – which also gives him the flexibility and free time to take care of his son.

Phil said: “I started about 25 years ago, being a big fan of Beano comics, and annuals and started trawling jumble and car boot sales looking to collect the older editions.

“Since 2000, eBay has been instrumental in turning a lifelong comic collecting passion into a full time business when I realised my trading was more than just a part-time hobby.

“I remember a rare, #1 Beano comic being auctioned by someone in Mexico, of all places.

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

“I branched out into all types of vintage British comics such as 2000AD, Whizzer and Chips, Commando and Eagle.

“Over the years I built up a steady stream of regular eBay customers who would bid each month on my vintage comic auctions.

“Above all, I’ve always tried to offer the personal touch to my customers and go the extra mile.

“I eventually resigned from my career and seized the opportunity to run the business full time, which was slightly nerve-wracking but ultimately perfect.

“Once the auctions have ended, our living room is transformed into a make-shift packing factory for a couple of days-which my wife tolerates surprisingly well – as I frantically pack up all the comics for posting.”

Tomorrow [MON] ‘Beano’ turns 80 – Phil has put up for auction a very rare edition for £25,000, with bidding set to end tonight [TUE].Tuesday 31

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News

“It’s very rare, it’s the number one issue, it was made in 1938, in a time when it was  meant to be read, passed around  in the playground and thrown way- it’s printed on low quality paper, like a newspaper and there are only  30 known to have survived.

“It is also very rare because during the war, the kids were supposed to recycle their comics- and this one has survived, in a great condition.

“Hopefully it will sell well, the price is high because of its condition-collectors always strive for the best condition they can get.

Phil said: “I’m very excited to have acquired an original first edition Beano comic which I will be auctioning on eBay as the star lot to coincide with the 80th birthday.

“The copy is the best one I have ever seen. There are about 30 more known to exist but in a bad condition, whereas this one is perfect.

“The starting price is high exactly because of how rare it is and of how well it has been kept.

“I believe it is a great time to sell it – it’s a nice way to celebrate the anniversary.”