The first issue of The Beano is dated July 30 1938 - original issues are very rare and are highly collectable!
Facsimile or reprinted copies have been published several times over the years. This makes it tricky to identify an original Beano from a reprint - but this following guide is here to help you spot the difference:
The original comics contained 28 pages. Some reprints only have 24 pages, removing some older content that doesn't meet modern editorial standards.
The original Beano was printed on off-white newsprint. Reprints may try to reproduce the look, to make their pages appear older, but will likely contain brilliant white and/or glossy pages.
The original was bound with glue. Reprints will be stapled or bound with string instead.
The original will likely have zig-zagged indentations on the top and bottom edges. Reprints will have sharp clean edges, but some collectors may have trimmed their own copies.
In 1978, Barry Posner published “DC Thomson Firsts” featuring 8 of our comics bound in hard back, including Beano No 1. Occasionally these are removed from the binding and sold separately.
In 1998 The Sunday Post issued a facsimile of the first edition on bright white glossy paper, with staple binding and a reduced pagination of 24 pages.
In 2003, an A5 sized edition was produced by Portfolio Editions including a replica Whoopee Mask as given away with the first issue. The cover pages were artificially aged but the interior pages are white.
In 2011, Sainsbury’s supermarket issued a free facsimile with sales of the Beano Book.
As part of a box set to mark the 80th anniversary of the Beano in 2018, a facsimile of the first issue was released. The masthead has been altered to remove the Peanut figure, and Peanut’s joke page is also missing. The item is printed on reproduction newsprint.
Check out our favourite selection of classic British comics at the Beano Archive!