An original page of drawings of the beloved comic character Tintin sold at auction Saturday in Paris for more than two million euros, setting a new world record for comics.
The piece, created by the Belgian artist Hergé in 1937, went to an American collector for 2.5 million euros ($3.4 million) including fees, or 2.1 million euros without, after 15 minutes of furious bidding at the Artcurial auction in Paris.
The piece was estimated at 700,000-900,000 euros before the auction.
The 34 small drawings on the two-page spread depict Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy in some of their best-known adventures.
The sale on Saturday was entirely dedicated to the Belgian designer and his carrot top creation.
“This new world record confirms the place of cartoon art as a major art form,” said Artcurial’s cartoon expert Eric Leroy.
The cover for “Tintin in America” created in 1932 by Hergé held the previous record after it sold for EUR1.3 million to a “Tintinophile” last June.
Golden age for comics?
Experts argue the sum reflects the new enthusiasm for cartoon items, which have seen prices soar over the past decade. Parisian gallery owner Daniel Maghen, who also works with comic art, estimates that prices for cartoon art have multiplied tenfold in the last 10 years.
Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website went so far as to call comics “more reliable than the stock market.”
2013 was marked by several big sales in the vintage comic world. In the same month that “Tintin in America” brought in over a million, a Minnesota man earned $175,000 for a 1938 copy of Action Comics No. 1. He had discovered the comic, which features the first appearance of Superman, hidden in a wall in his home.
Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, howoever warned would-be comic enthusiasts that most comic collections are close to worthless.
Salkowitz told Businessweek that the, “market for gold-plated issues, which sell for hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars… is very, very, very limited.”
Nevertheless, Publishers Weekly reported that the comic market remained healthy in 2013 after seeing an astonishing 15% growth in 2012.