Rupert the Bear Annuals

The New Adventures of Rupert 1936The Rupert Bear Annual has been a tradition in the UK since 1936. However, Rupert Bear was actually created by the English artist Mary Tourtel and first appeared in the Daily Express 16 years earlier on the 8th November 1920.

Rupert’s initial purpose was to grab sales from the rival Daily Mail which had been running a successful strip called Teddy Tail by illustrator Charles Folkard, The then editor of the Daily Express contacted his deputy, Herbert Tourtel and asked him to come up with some ideas. The result was Mary Tourtel’s Rupert.

Pictured right: The New Adventures of Rupert, first edition, illustrations throughout, the 5 “pictures for your paint-box” uncoloured, ownership box with contemporary ink presentation, internally overall very good but with occasional foxing, original pictorial red cloth a little fading to back board and minor damp stain to bottom edge causing small bleed to inside of dust-jacket, dust-jacket frayed with minor loss to spine ends, and corners, small amateur paper repair to inside, light creasing and marking, otherwise very good, 4to, [1936]. Very scarce in dust-jacket, and with the book itself in such good condition. This copy was sold by Bloomsbury Auctions, London in November 2008 for £700.

More Adventures of RupertIn 1935 the mantle of Rupert artist and storyteller was taken over by Alfred Bestall, and the first annual was produced in 1936 The New Adventures of Rupert. Bestall proved to be successful in the field of children’s literature and worked on Rupert stories and artwork into his 90s. Bestall’s work can be seen up until the 1973 Annual. Since then various other artists and writers have continued the series, which still runs to this day – Alex Cubie (1974-1977), John Harold (1978-2007) and Stuart Trotter from 2008.

Pictured left: More Adventures of Rupert, colour illustrations, light foxing to title and endpapers, ownership inscription to front paste-down, original cloth-backed pictorial boards, lightly soiled, 4to, Daily Express, [1942]. An exceptional copy. This copy was sold by Bloomsbury Auctions, London in October 2005 for £260.

The prices of early editions is dependant on condition. Bloomsbury Auctions, a specialist Book Auction House, has auctioned a number of copies of The New Adventures of Rupert over the past few years with prices fetching from a £200-£2000 depending on condition. A near mint copy would command a lot of interest at auction and would probably reach many thousands.

Rupert Bear Collecting Overview
Rare Rupert Bear at Auction