Auction house to sell rare memorabilia of comic strip reporter Tintin

PARIS (AP) — A French auction house is selling rare memorabilia of Tintin, the comic strip reporter and globe trotter whose stories have been translated into 80 languages and sold over 200 million books in the past eight decades.

The late Belgian creator Herge launched the adventures of Tintin and Snowy the dog in 1929. Tintin fans, known as Tintinophiles or Tintinologists depending on their level of involvement, often compete fiercely for any artifact linked to the cartoon hero.

The Piasa art firm is putting 230 rare lots up for sale on Saturday at the Paris auction house Drouot-Montaigne.

Rare items on auction include a lot of two inked and water-painted original panels from the 1938 "King Ottokar's Sceptre" album, estimated at 250,000 to 300,000 euro.

And although only priced at 70,000 euros, a unique Herge drawing made for a friend's birthday is expected to get a lot of the attention. The watercolor, named "Tintin and the sea shells," shows Tintin with his dog Snowy and his friends Captain Haddock and professor Cuthbert Calculus wandering on a beach amid huge sea shells and conch shells. "It's as original as it is exceptional," said auctioneer Alexis Velliet.

"In this work, there is an element of surrealism," said Tintin expert Thibaut Van Houte. "It's a drawing that is a source of enthusiasm for many 'Tintinologists,' but also for serious painting collectors," he told Associated Press Television News.

Another rare piece is a life-size bronze statue of Tintin, hands in his pockets with Snowy at his heels. There are only four other copies of the statue worldwide and its estimated price range is 100,000 to 200,000 euros.

The collection is sold by Moulinsart SA, a company that manages the rights for Herge's works.

The sale includes many less-expensive memorabilia, including original lithographs and panels for about 2,000 to 3,000 euros.