Since 2007, there's been a bronze figure slouched up against his own section of a bar and clasping a pint glass near the Harbour of Refuge pub in Hartlepool.

The figure, with his cap hauled down to his nose, is immediately recognisable to locals and most of the UK as Andy Capp. What might be of surprise to some is that he's recognisable to many Americans as well.

Andy Capp was created by Reg Smythe on August 5 1957 for the Daily Mirror. For those who don't know, Capp is an unemployed man whose main hobbies include drinking, fighting, chasing women, gambling, lounging on the sofa and having rows with Flo, his wife. Smythe is supposed to have based him on his father.

For his first 30 years he was a chain smoker, never seen without a cigarette, but it disappeared about the same time as Smythe himself gave up.

At the moment, memorabilia associated with Capp is very affordable. There have been two books per year relating to the character since the first one in 1958. Any one of these shouldn't be more than a couple of pounds, except perhaps the ones from the 1950s.

Other items are available such as an Andy Capp powder bottle which collectors have paid £50 for.

It seems likely that the value of these will go up. Reg Smythe died in 1998, and although those who continued the cartoon strip are thought to have done it very well, the earlier strips may be expected to be more collectible.

Whilst particularly popular with Americans (perhaps because the strip is at odds with the usual British stereotype), Andy Capp has been syndicated in 50 countries and translated into 13 languages. International interest makes a huge difference in collectability. 


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