A page of original Tintin art by Hergé sold at auction Saturday in Paris for a record $1.64 million, exceeding early estimates.
Drawn in Chinese ink, the page from the 1954 book "Explorers on the Moon," depicts the intrepid boy reporter, his faithful dog Snowy and friend Captain Haddock wearing spacesuits as they walk on the lunar surface. It had been expected to sell for somewhere between $741,195 and $952,965.
The Artcurial auction house told BBC News the price is a record for a single page by Hergé and for a postwar work by the Belgian cartoonist "It is one of the most important from Herge's postwar period, on the same level as 'Tintin in Tibet' and 'The Castafiore Emerald'," Artcurial's comics expert Eric Leroy said of the volume.
Tintin art has been in increasing demand in recent years, with the final two pages of 1939's "King Ottokar’s Sceptre" fetching $1.2 million at auction in May. A two-page spread from the same volume sold for $1.7 million in 2015, mere weeks after a Hergé illustration from the 1936 book "The Blue Lotus" was purchased for $1.2 million. The cartoonist's original cover for the 1942 Tintin book "The Shooting Star" went for $2.8 million that same year, just shy of the world-record price paid last year for a 1937 double-page spread signed by Hergé.
Originally serialized weekly in 1952 and 1953, "Explorers on Moon" is the 17th Tintin book, and completes the adventure begun in "Destination Moon." In it, Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock join Professor Calculus and stowaways Thomson and Thompson on the first manned rocket mission to the Moon. Tintin, of course, becomes the first person to set foot on the lunar surface.