It is almost legendary amongst Rupert collectors that the 1973 Rupert Annual, which was Alfred Bestall last annual, with the brown face is the rarest of all of the Rupert Books. Most collectors have never even seen a photograph of this book, well I am happy to be able to bring you an image of the books which recently came up for auction; but failed to sell despite a bid of over £10,000.
Here is what the auction had to say about this book:
The rare 1973 annual depicting Rupert with a brown face. Traditionally, Rupert always had a brown face on the front cover (and continued to do so after 1973). For the year of 1973 Bestall gave Rupert a brown face as usual, but the editor of the Express thought that this blended into the background too much, so decided to change Rupert to a white bear without consulting Bestall. When Bestall realised, he left in protest and never drew another cover for a Rupert annual. He was incensed at not being consulted about the decision, and also annoyed that the editor didn’t think to reintroduce the shading and shadows present in his version. To appease Bestall, his signature was disguised on the covers of the white-faced annual. There is thought to be less than half a dozen of the brown-faced annual produced, and to our knowledge only four have come to light. The holy grail of any Rupert collection!