Rupert Bear collection to raise thousands

Andy Johnson with his Rupert the Bear collection
Andy Johnson with his Rupert the Bear collection
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A life-time collection of Rupert Bear memorabilia has been put up for sale by a family from Northamptonshire.

Ron Johnson and his sister, Lin, first received Rupert annuals in the 1950s as Christmas presents.

Together with their brother, Andy, they have collected Rupert merchandise ever since .

But they are now putting their collection up for sale, with the more than 300 items expected to fetch several thousand pounds.

Ron, aged 61, said: “We received the first annuals when we were both very young and it just grew to be one of those things where, if you express an interest in something as a child, people buy you things every Christmas and birthdays.

“It accumulated over the years from that.”

The most rare of all Rupert item is a 1973 annual, in which Rupert is shown on the cover with a brown face, instead of his traditional white appearance. Only 12 copies of the ‘brown Rupert’ book from 1973 were published, compared to 500,000 versions which had a white face.

Copies of the brown Rupert book have previously been sold for up to £23,000.

Unfortunately, Mr Johnson, who lives in Roade, does not have the 1973 annual in his collection. He said: “Sadly we’ve not got that one, but we’ve got everything else you could think of, from egg cups to rolls of Rupert wallpaper and even a 20-year-old packet of Rupert sweets.

“But I don’t think they would taste very good now.”

Rupert first appeared in the Daily Express newspaper in 1920, making him six years older than Winnie the Pooh and 40 years older than Paddington Bear.

The Johnson family are selling their collection to de-clutter their houses. They plan to sell their items through the internet auction site, eBay, but anyone interested in the collection can call Mr Johnson on Northampton 861458.

When their collection was last valued a decade ago, auctioneers estimated it would be worth well over £2,000.