Tintin Drawing Sells for $1.7 Million at Sotheby’s Paris

The boy detective continues to be a hit at auction.

Hergé , Tintin, King Ottokar's Sceptre (detail), 1939. Photo: Sotheby's Paris.
Hergé , Tintin, King Ottokar's Sceptre (detail), 1939. Photo: Sotheby's Paris.

Another Tintin comic has surpassed the $1 million mark at auction, selling for €1.56 million ($1.7 million) at Sotheby’s Paris (only four Tintin comics before it have broken the $1 million mark). The work was part of the collection of notable comic book collector Jean-Arnold Schoofs, who auctioned 65 original comic drawings on the night. Sales totaled €2.7 million (roughly $3 million).

The illustration, published in 1939, is a two-page spread from King Ottokar’s Sceptre drawn by Georges Remi, pen name Hergé. The dramatic scene shows Tintin and his dog Snowy in a dramatic plane crash, their vessel free-falling as it plummets to the earth. Presumably, the resourceful hero survives the fiery crash.

 

Despite the recent success of Tintin drawings at auction—a 1936 drawing from The Blue Lotus brought in $1.2 million at a Hong Kong auction earlier this month, and the boy detective actually holds the record for the most expensive piece of comic book art, which was set in May at $3,434,908—the drawing carried a pre-sale estimate of just €600,000-€800,000 ($665,000-$886,000).

Hergé , Tintin, <em>King Ottokar's Sceptre</em> (1939). Photo: Sotheby's Paris.

Hergé , Tintin, King Ottokar’s Sceptre (1939).
Photo: Sotheby’s Paris.

Four potential buyers were engaged in a bidding war on the drawing, according to the BBC.

In a statement, Schoofs said he was “very happy with the results, which were worthy of an admirable catalogue and did justice to all of the authors—not only the most famous in the field, but also several somewhat forgotten by history.”

Tintin and his dog, Snowy.

Tintin and his dog, Snowy.

Other notable recent Tintin sales include the cover image for 1942’s Tintin and the Shooting Star, which  sold for $2,854,250 at the Brussels Antiques & Fine Arts Fair 2014. Hergé illustrations were also the top two lots at the March comic books auction at Sotheby’s Paris.

While the market for Hergé continues to grow, the company owned by the artist’s family, Moulinsart SA, which tightly controls reproduction rights to Hergé’s characters, may find itself suddenly without a piece of the Tintin pie. A Dutch court recently rules that Hergé had actually signed away the rights to his iconic characters.


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