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New auction record for Corto Maltese comic book art

Artcurial/Wikimedia Commmons

French auction house Artcurial announced on Sunday that it had set a world record after it sold a watercolour of the graphic novel hero Corto Maltese for more than 390,000 euros.


The artwork by the comic strip’s creator Hugo Pratt for a 1979 French edition of Corto Maltese in Africa, entitled “Corto Maltese – Les Ethiophiques”, was estimated between 100,000 and 150,000 euros (124,000 and 186,000 US dollars).

It finally went for twice its original estimate, the auction house said Sunday.

Maltese, a sophisticated sailor adventurer whose stories are set in the early decades of the 20th century, was created by the Venetian cartoonist Pratt in 1967.

Some 400 lots of comic art were sold at the auction in Paris on Saturday, Artcurial said.

The highest price was fetched by a Tintin strip from “The Castafiore Emerald” signed by its creator Hergé that went for 404,500 euros (501,000 US dollars).

A Tintin strip had set a new world high for a comic of 2.65 million euros (3.28 million US dollars) at a big auction organized last May by the same house. It was a two-page spread of 34 small drawings of Tintin and his faithful dog snowy in some of their most famous scrapes.


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