On the 70th anniversary of its first publication, the National Library of Scotland has finally completed its collection of Oor Wullie annuals, by buying two extremely rare volumes of the youngster's adventures for £4000, The Scotsman reports today.
A 1940 annual, the first Oor Wullie collection ever published by Dundee publishing empire, DC Thomson, has been bought for £3000 at auction, along with a 1942 annual for a further £1000.
Points out The Scotsman: “They are the only two to have been published during the Second World War because of severe paper shortages, yet their popularity was such that they marked the beginning of a Christmas gift tradition that has lasted decades.
Andrew Martin, NLS Modern Scottish Collections curator, is quoted as saying: “We all know Oor Wullie, he's one of the iconic Scottish figures and it's appropriate that the library has the full collection. It's a record of Scottish publishing and further evidence of a very important character in the Scottish psyche.”
The NLS is said to have been searching for copies of the two rare annuals for some time. One 1940 annual was discovered at a car boot sale earlier this year and sold for £1000. The two annuals bought by NLS were sold by Edinburgh auction house Lyon & Turnbull last month and came from private sellers.
“There are said to be very few in existence,” Martin told The Scotsman. “We never know exactly but I think Oor Wullie fans would say there are fewer than ten in the world. Then again, you don't know if people have got one hidden away upstairs in their loft and don't know about it.”