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The Beano No 1 and its rare inserted flyer sold together for a record £15,175 by Comic Book Auctions.

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Offered with a four-page flyer for the first two issues that is almost a comic in its own right, it was valued at £4500-5000. But that perennial auctioneers' delight and benefit, a competition between two serious collectors, ensured that it went far higher - setting a new record.

On the morning of the sale, auctioneer Malcolm Phillips had taken a call from a collector who told him that he was going to secure it, whatever happens.

His confidence, however, proved misplaced and his determination, it seems, faltered. He lost out to another, even more determined Beano fan, a Scottish collector who was bidding from Italy on his tablet.

For the comic that cost tuppence in July 1938 he paid £15,175 in total.

The free gift 'Whoopee Mask' promised on both the flyer and the comic was not present, and Phillips told ATG that such gifts can almost double the price in today's market. Had the mask survived, it might have made £10,000-15,000 more!

The only known copy to retain the mask was sold by CBA for £6200, but that was back in 1999.

Mask or no mask, the copy sold earlier this month sets a new high for Beano, but the all-comers British comic record remains with its slightly earlier DC Thomson stablemate, Dandy.

In 2004, CBA took £18,500 for a copy of the December 1937 first issue that still retained the promotional free gift, an 'Express Whistler', and news of this latest Beano success has already seen another Dandy No 1, complete with whistler, entered in CBA's November sale.