Fans of cartoon character Andy Capp can get their hands on a host of memorabilia owned by the man who created him.
Around 120 items from the personal collection of Hartlepool artist Reg Smythe are due to go under the hammer at auction later this month.
The collection ranges from original Andy artwork, books of the cartoon strip along with some of his more rare cartoons, to beer glasses, photographs, signed letters and awards.
They are just some of the possessions inherited by Reg’s niece Helene de Klerk upon the death of his widow Jean last year. She in turn had inherited the archive when Reg died in 1998.
Helene has donated some of the collection to the Museum of Hartlepool for a forthcoming retrospective on Reg to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth next year. She also gave some to the University of Kent’s cartoon archive and has kept some herself for sentimental reasons.
Helene, a journalist who published a book about Reg at the end of last year entitled My Dancing Bear, said: “However that still left some items which were gifts or awards he had received for his work and creative output.
I hope seeing these awards, and other gifts from all over the world, will remind people of his talents
“It is this collection, together with some of his more rare cartoons, which I have decided to sell.
“Although Reg was a very shy man, never quite believing in his own success, he was always chuffed with any public outpouring of regard and as a family we were too.
“As I’ve said before it’s very easy to forget just what he achieved, particularly as the height of Andy’s success, so I hope seeing these awards, and other gifts from all over the world, will remind people of his talents.”
The sale takes place at Tennants Auctioneers, in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, on Wednesday, March 23.
Jeremy Pattison, managing director at Tennants, said: “We certainly hope there will be a lot of interest in the collection.
“We have had a few phone calls. I understand there is quite a lot of interest in America for Andy Capp. With it coming from the estate it makes it quite unusual.”