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Rare Tintin painting could break auction record

An original painting by Tintin creator Herge could set a new record for a comic book sale when it goes to auction in Paris on Thursday.

The online auction by Artcurial is widely expected to confirm the huge appetite for memorabilia of Tintin, whose adventures have entertained people of all ages since the 1930s.

The previous world record for comic book art was set in 2014, when a double-page ink drawing that served as the inside cover for Tintin volumes published from 1937 to 1958 sold for 2.65 million euros (roughly $3.6 million at that time).

The painting being offered on Thursday features Tintin and his canine sidekick Snowy emerging from a porcelain jar in front of a menacing depiction of a Chinese dragon.

It was intended for the cover of “The Blue Lotus” from 1936 but was judged too expensive to reproduce by the publisher, which ultimately used a simplified version of the same scene, Artcurial says.

The auction house estimates it will sell for 2.2 to 2.8 million euros, despite clear fold marks.

According to the owners — heirs of Tintin publisher Louis Casterman — the drawing was given as a present by Herge to Casterman’s son, who kept it folded up in a drawer.

Other experts have cast doubt on this, saying the drawing might have been folded by Herge himself when he sent it by post to his publishers.

In 2016, an original drawing from “Explorers on the Moon” sold for 1.55 million euros, a record for a single comic book page.

Herge, a Belgian whose real name was George Remi, sold some 230 million Tintin albums by the time of his death in 1983.

Agence France-Presse

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