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Hugo Pratt watercolor fetches record price for Corto Maltese art

A watercolor of Corto Maltese by his creator Hugo Pratt sold at auction Saturday in Paris for $485,500, more than twice the original estimate. According to Agence France-Presse, that's the highest price ever paid for a piece of Corto Maltese art.

Created for a 1979 French edition of Corto Maltese in Africa ("Corto Maltese - Les Ethiopiques"), the piece was among 400 lots of comic art sold by French auction house Artcurial. An original Tintin strip from The Castafiore Emerald signed by Herge fetched the the top price, about $503,000.

That's doesn't come close to the world-record $2.9 million paid in May at another Artcurial auction for a page of Tintin art.

Debuting in 1967, Corto Maltese is a sea-faring adventurer often described as a rogue with a heart of gold. Publisher Casterman announced last month that it plans to release the first new Corto Maltese story in 25 years, with Blacksad writer Juan Diaz Canales and artist Ruben Pellejero succeeding Pratt, who passed away in 1995.

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