Artcurial has released the results of its exciting sale of original pages by the cartoonist Peyo, best known for creating the smurfs. It didn't disappoint.
The auctioneer offered 33 examples of Peyo's work including a number of original Smurf pages, which were expected to bring five figure sums. Indeed, all but one sold for their estimates or more.
One of the top lots was plate 16 from one of the first smurf stories 'The Black Smurfs'. The story, which is quite dramatic for a children's book shows, involves transmission of an infection which causes smurfs to change colour and aggressively bit other smurfs, passing it on.
A smurf cartoon is not really the place you'd expect to find a precursor to the plot for George Romero's 28 Days Later, but luckily Papa Smurf finds an antidote before too many smurfs get bitten on the bottom.
Plate 16 is the largest panel in the entire story. Large panels are extremely rare in the series and have always held a particular significance, here showing the drama and despair of the situation. It is a rare piece indeed.
The BlackSmurfs first came about in the form of a short story published in Spirou number 1107 in 1959. Five further short stories would then be released before 1962. This is the first adventure of the Smurfs without Johan and Peewit.
It marks the very beginning of the series in its own right, which would then go on to have the worldwide success we know today, and the €40,000-60,000 listed piece sold for €85,079 ($116,900).
The top lot, as expected, was a full page image of Johan and Peewit from the story of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. This shows Peewit playing a magical instrument and Johan doing an involuntary backflip whilst the smurfs look on.
As expected it was the top lot and sold for €124,100 ($170,500), beating its top listing.
Original children's cartoons can often be valuable especially if there is an ongoing contemporary interest. (It won't have hurt the auction's prospects one bit that the film 'The Smurfs in 3D' by Raja Gosnell, was released on 3 August 2011 worldwide.)
We recently discussed the popularity of cartoon pirate Captain Pugwash on our blog. Then there are original cartoons from the Hanna-Barbera franchise, which of course popularised the smurfs, along with the Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and Yogi Bear.