Rare Tintin drawings to go on auction

An exceptional collection of Belgian cartoonist Herge's drawings of Tintin are to go on auction in Paris, with one original drawing set to fetch up to 800,000 euros (S$1.27 million).

PARIS (REUTERS) - An exceptional collection of Belgian cartoonist Herge's drawings of Tintin are to go on auction in Paris, with one original drawing set to fetch up to 800,000 euros (S$1.27 million).

The collection on offer at Paris auction house Artcurial includes a rare Chinese ink and watercolor drawing of Tintin and his companion Snowy for the cover of King Ottokar's Sceptre published in newspaper Petit Vingtieme in 1939.

It is the first time the drawing, estimated at between 600,000 and 800,000 euros, has been on the market, remaining in the owner's home since her childhood when she was given it as a gift by Herge himself.

Images like these are rare and hard to find. The colour illustrations printed in black and white albums were a significant innovation of the time, comics expert Eric Leroy said, and Herge was reluctant to switch to color drawings for fear of losing his trademark touch.

Also up for grabs are sketches for the book The Castafiore Emerald, offering a unique insight into the craftsmanship behind Herge's works and his thought processes as an illustrator.

The first two comic strips for the tenth volume The Shooting Star show Tintin and Snowy wandering underneath a twinkling night's sky and could fetch 300,000 to 400,000 euros.

The collection also includes covers designed by Herge for board games, highlighting his entrepreneurial side in designing products to be sold alongside his famous comic books.

Tintin is still so popular today because the young reporter's explorations of the world offer a commentary on life in the 20th Century, according to Leroy.

"He's present in our lives, I would say that we're born with Tintin's images, and we'll die with them too," he told Reuters TV.

About 230 million Tintin books were sold by the time of Herge's death in 1983.