Asterix cover art sets new record

The original cover art for Asterix and the Banquet has auctioned for $1.7m.

Albert Uderzo's illustration for the 1965 book is now the most valuable Asterix artwork ever sold, smashing its $236,000 estimate at Drouot's auction house in France on Friday.

Asterix original art

Asterix and the Banquet was the fifth book in the series

The artwork was signed by Uderzo and Asterix writer Rene Goscinny, further adding to its allure.

The fifth book in the Asterix series, it follows Asterix and friend Obelix as they travel around the country, sampling local food and drink.

Also selling was the cover art for Asterix and the Chieftan's Shield. It too smashed its estimate, making $1.4m.

The sale follows growing demand for original Asterix art in recent years. A single page of Uderzo's artwork for Asterix and Obelix sold for $341,000 in January, while in 2015 a single page from Asterix and the Great Crossing made $255,668.

Among Franco-Belgian comics, only Tintin has proved more popular with readers than the Asterix books. This translates into even greater prices for Herge's original artwork.

A double page spread employed as the inside cover for the Tintin books from 1937 to 1958 made $3.4m in 2014 – a record for comic book art.

Herge's original illustration for The Shooting Star cover achieved $2.9m in 2015.

Asterix and the Chariot Race, the 37th Asterix book, is published on October 19.

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