A vintage comic dealer is putting a collectors dream up for auction with an exceedingly rare first issue of the Beano.

Phil Shrimpton, a collector and dealer from Seaford, is running the eBay auction which has a starting price tag of £3,500.

The first ever Beano landed in newstands on July 30 1938 and the coveted number one issue sold a whopping 442,963 copies.

But now, more than seventy years later, only a handful of the iconic comic still exist.

Mr Shrimpton said: “It is quite incredible to think that probably only around 25 actually still exist.

“Every year or so another one seems to emerge – often found in someone’s attic.”

“People didn’t really look at comics as collector’s items until the sixties and seventies, so lots of them got destroyed.

“Also a lot of the comics were destroyed during the war as people were more conscious about recycling the old issues.”

The issue up for auction is deemed to be in good condition but does not come with the original “whoopee mask” free gift – only one of which is known to survive.

Mr Shrimpton said the comic’s are usually sold to other private collectors, but a few have made their way into the hands of museums.

He said that this is the most valuable comic he has ever sold in his work at his dealership.

The Beano #1 had a full colour front page featuring then cover star Big Eggo, while inside other iconic characters such as Lord Snooty made their debuts.

The famous poster-boy for the comic Dennis the Menace did not appear until 1951.

The Beano is the world’s longest running comic and has been published every week for the last 76 years – with issue 3,730 dropping into newsagents this week.

Mr Shrimpton runs Phil-Comics Auctions (COR) which specialises in British vintage comics from pre-1975 featuring titles such as The Beano, Dandy, Commando, Eagle and Rupert Bear.

The most expensive comic ever sold was a copy of Action Comics #1 – which features the first appearance of Superman – for $2.6 million.

To bid on the auction go to: ebay.co.uk/itm/Beano-comic-1-ONE-July-30th-1938-RARE-ORIGINAL-Good-phil-comics-/271449901842?pt=UK_Books_comics_Magazines_UK_Comics_ET&hash=item3f33accb12