Mayfair magazine was first published in 1966 by Brian Fisk who had cut his teeth in the adult publishing industry working as the general manager for King magazine which was owned by Paul Raymond.
Around this time period there were other newcomers hitting the newsagents shelves including Fiesta and Penthouse, which sat aside the ‘old style’ magazines. The old style magazines such as Spick, Span and Beautiful Britons and were pocket sized.Mayfair first issue hit the streets in August of 1966 with a cover price of 5/- which is the old fashioned way of saying 5 shillings, in todays money 25p. The cover was Raquel Welsh who appeared inside on pages 3 and 4. A problem for Raquel sitting on those pages is that the circulation form was connected to the Raquel shoot at pages 93 and 94 so when that was ripped out the page of Racquel became loose and all to often lost. So if you’ve ever seen or have in your collection a first edition of Mayfair and wondered why pages 3 and 4 were missing its because whoever bought it in the first instance probably subscribed for to the magazine. The price of the subscription was 10/6 which is half a guinea. No wonder we decimalized because the whole system was confusing.
Price wise even with the pages missing if you can find an avid collector in a strong market then £500 would be a fair price. At jobbydealer we’ve seen very few first editions of Mayfair with our best selling price just short of £1000. However, I believe in a strong market that there’s no reason why that price can’t at least double as in my opinion Mayfair is as collectable as Playboy and certainly more so in the United Kingdom.
As you’d expect for the time period the print quality is not the best but there are some colour pages of the girls. There’s an interview with Dudley Moore and the car test was the MG-B GT, so the basic format for the magazine as we knew it in later years was already laid out. This format was developed to portrait the magazine as an ‘up market’ magazine for men with the aim being to get W H Smiths to accept it on their shelves, which of course they did.
By volume 3 of Mayfair, Fisk had bought the King title off Paul Raymond and incorporated it into Mayfair and for several issues the statement ‘Incorporating King’ was printed on the front cover of each issue.
From volume 11 the birth of the perfect bound issue twelve was created which carried right through to Volume 25 which was the last full year of ownership by Kenneth Bound. Ken bought Mayfair around volume 16 due to the death of Brian Fisk. The deal was done with the widow of Brian’s, Mary, who initially had reached an agreement with Robert Maxwell of BPCC, the printers of the Radio Times.
The last issue published by Ken Bound was Volume 26 Number 1 and from there on in Paul Raymond took over the title. Raymond, not on to miss out on some extra cash printed a 14th issue of Mayfair at volume 26 to make up for the sales that weren’t his from the first issue!
The general format for Mayfair was to feature the ‘girl next door’ and each set generally had the signature shot of Ken Bound, which was the girl bending over in see through panties. Quest was the interview section, generally on buff coloured paper listening to the secrets of the ‘normal’ person.
Carrie was the long running cartoon strip which featured a dizzy blonde who somehow always managed to loose all her clothes in one caper or another.
Some say that the magazines ‘Golden Years’ were with Ken Bound at the helm but Paul Raymond kept the magazine as the biggest selling monthly for years.
On the death of Paul Raymond the estate sold off the Paul Raymond publishing empire and it is now in the hands of Blue Active Media with Paul Chaplin as the new publisher. The offices known as ‘Raymond Towers’ at 2 Archer St, London were shut down and moved to Old St.
Paul is not new to the adult game as he once owned the Bluebird DVD publishing company. In 2013 a couple of issues were published in the perfect bound format in an attempt to revive the glory days but alas the circulation did not pick up and the standard print format was adopted once again.