Tintin Shooting Star Cover Art Sells for $2.9 Million
An original drawing by Belgian cartoonist and Tintin creator Hergé sold for €2.5 million ($2,854,250), nearly breaking the record for the most expensive piece of comic art, reports the AFP. The drawing titled Shooting Star, is the original illustration used for the basis of the front cover of the 1942 comic album of Tintin et L’étoile Mysterieuse (Tintin and the Shooting Star), the tenth volume in the series The Adventures of Tintin.
The illustration features Tintin and his dog Snowy standing on a meteorite that fell in the ocean; they are looking with great surprise at a giant mushroom.
The work went on sale last week (see Tintin Cover Art to Go on Sale for Nearly $3 Million at Brussels Fair) at the Brussels Antiques and Fine Art Fair (BRAFA) by Huberty & Breyne, a Brussels-based gallery that specializes in comic book art (bande dessinées).
Marina David of Huberty & Breyne said the work was bought by a European investor but declined to disclose the identity of the buyer, saying only “the buyer is neither Belgian nor French.”
Tintin, who turned 86 this past January, has seen a surge in value recently.
Long recognized in Francophone countries as the “ninth art,” there has been an increased interest in comic art as an investment. Hergé’s original Tintin art has done well before. His auction record is currently held by a plate of the Belgian bande-dessinée Tintin drawn by Hergé which sold for €2,519,000 ($3,434,908) last May at Artcurial in Paris, which also set a new record for a piece of comic art (see New World Record: Tintin Comic Tops $3 Million). Hergé’s previous auction record was set by another piece of cover art, Tintin in America, which sold for €1.3 million in 2012, also at Artcurial.
“Twenty-five years ago when you went to a comic strip creator like Tardi … to buy a cover, they would look at you oddly as if to say ‘and who on earth is interested in that,'” said Alain Huberty, part-owner of Huberty & Breyne, told the AFP. “The price is determined first by the name and then by the quality. An exceptional piece can command an exceptional price, as the Tintin sales show.”
The Shooting Star cover is one of five still owned by private collectors, with a majority of work held by the Hergé family foundation established after the cartoonist’s death in 1983.