Records broken at Tintin at Belgian auction

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The sale in Namur, southern Belgium, dominated by five large hand-drawn pages of original cartoon strips, raised 1,172,000 million euros (1.57 million dollars).

BRUSSELS - Tintin mania swept a Belgian auction house on Sunday with almost 600 lots associated with Hergé, creator of the famous cartoon reporter, breaking national and world sales records, an expert said.

The sale in Namur, southern Belgium, dominated by five large hand-drawn pages of original cartoon strips, raised 1,172,000 euros (1.57 million dollars), including charges, a world record for Hergé-associated items and a cartoon strip book record in Belgium, said Thibaut Van Houtte, an expert on hand for the Rops auction house sale.

"It went well over even our upper pre-auction estimate of 650,000 euros," he said.

The buyers came from all over Europe, as well as the United States, Lebanon and China.

However, Van Houtte was happy to say, the two highest-selling pages were bought by an anonymous Belgian collector.

The lot which the collector paid the most for was a hand-drawn page featuring Tintin, his faithful terrier Snowy and his crusty old sea-dog companion Captain Haddock made for the 1963 book The Castafiore Emerald which went for a total of 312,5000 euros, over three times its catalogue estimate, Van Houtte said.

The same collector also picked up a page of original drawings, including a spectacular car crash, as seen in the 1956 The Calculus Affair.

The boy reporter -- the most loved figure in cartoon-mad Belgium's history -- first appeared on January 10, 1929 bound for the Soviet Union, in a supplement to the Roman Catholic Brussels weekly, Le Vingtieme Siecle.

It has been a long career that the death in 1983 of his creator, Georges Remi -- alias Hergé -- has not compromised, with his descendants refusing to hand over the rights to Tintin.

AFP/Expatica

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