A strip from The Shooting Star, the 10th book in Herge's The Adventures of Tintin series, brought strong results to Sotheby's first ever comic book sale, in Paris.
The July 4 auction was held in memory of the noted French comic book artist Jean Giraud - better known as Moebius - who passed away in March this year. However, despite a number of Moebius' ethereal creations featuring in the sale, it was Herge's perennially popular work that stole the limelight.
An exceptional strip, The Shooting Star extract is a scant black and white example from the book. Created in 1941, The Shooting Star was the first of Herge's works to be published in colour, with Herge creating this copy as a personal example of the old, uncoloured format. The strip sold for €234,750 ($295,506), drawing close to its high estimate of €240,000.
Last month, the original cover artwork for Tintin in America sold for €1.3m in Paris, setting a new world record in the process.
Following the top lot was a 1956 strip from Andre Franquin's Le gorille a bonne mine (The Gorilla's in Good Shape), the 11th book in his Spirou et Fantasio series. An exciting depiction of the series' two main characters encountering a fierce African tribe, it sold just above its high estimate at €70,350.
The successes of the auction pave the way for more comic book sales from Sotheby's, as the growing market moves away from being the sole domain of avid fans and collectors and looks toward high-end investors. Those hoping to take advantage of the market's current popularity will have the chance to bid on Doug Schmell's remarkable collection of Marvel comics on July 26-27.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of comic book art, including this charming sketch from Charles Schulz's beloved strip, Peanuts.