Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tintin comic auction rakes in $1.57m

A porter displays a book by Herge at the auction of rare Tintin memorabilia. A porter displays a book by Herge at the auction of rare Tintin memorabilia. Photo: AP
Devotees of the Tintin comic books have flocked to a special sale in Paris of drawings and sculptures of the intrepid boy reporter, and objects left by his creator the Belgian author Herge.
The sale brought in €1.08 million ($A1.57 million).
The Tintin adventures were written and illustrated from 1929 until his death in 1983 by Georges Prosper Remi, whose pen name Herge is the French pronunciation of his initials reversed, RG.
The highlight of the auction was an original two-page spread of the 1939 comic King Ottokar's Sceptre, which sold for €243,750 ($A354,494), a record for this particular work, according to organisers the Piasa auction house.
"The client is a private Belgian collector. Tintin always returns to Belgium," said Alain Van Neygher, an agent for the purchaser.
A bronze statue of Tintin and his faithful fox terrier Milou by Nat Neujean, the first to sculpt the characters much-loved by European readers, went for €125,000, a world record for this artist.
A Parisian gallery owner, Francis Slomka, who specialises in original works by comic strip artists, bought the 1.8 metre (nearly six feet) tall statue to display in a gallery in Brussels.
"I think the Belgians will be happy with the return of their heroes. Tintin is so magical! Reread them (the comics) and you will always discover new things," Slomka said.
A drawing entitled "Tintin and the shellfish" that Herge made in 1947 for a friend's 50th birthday sold for €131,250.
"We had a wonderful surprise with this drawing that a lot of people found to be exceptional," Piasa chief executive Alain Cadiou said.
"Many of the buyers come from Belgium. There are also some Anglos and Spaniards, but the rest are essentially from the world of French-Belgian collectors," he said of the Tintin treasure hunters.
The 230 lots up for auction included objects belonging to the author such as scarves, crayon boxes and paperweights.
Another auction of Herge's work is set for October 9 at the Cheverny chateau in central France, which was the author's inspiration for his imaginary village and chateau of Moulinsart.

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