Dallas, TX – An auction dedicated to European Comic Art reached $1,257,082 as Heritage Auctions entered the collecting category with nearly 300 lots of high-end original art.
The June 2 sale offered a rarely seen set of original Tintin drawings by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, which sold for $425,000. A 12-panel page of inked original art from the story “The Red Sea Sharks,” published in a 1958 edition of Journal Tintin, was sold along with its pencil-on-paper design.
“Our first auction of European Comic Art attracted a wide pool of active bidders, comfortably surpassing our original goal of $1 million in sales,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Founder of Heritage Auctions. “The sale’s 87 percent sell-through rate by volume also eclipses rates set at other houses, which typically reach 70 percent. We are very pleased with our debut.”
A 1978 page of Original Art from Corto Maltese, by legendary Italian comic book creator Hugo Pratt, sold for $62,500.
Original art by the influential French cartoonist Moebius (Jean Giraud) attracted vigorous bidding. A full page of Original Art from the 1991 graphic novel The Black Incal – considered a pillar of contemporary science fiction – sold for $21,250 and a full page of Original Art from Upon A Star, from the artist’s critically acclaimed 1983 release, ended at $13,750.
Woman with Blue Eyes, 1995, an original illustration by Italian artist Milo Manara, sold for $11,875. His early work in several Franco-Belgian comics magazines to later projects for Marvel Comics established Manara a worldwide fan base.
In addition to works by Europe’s finest cartoonists and illustrators, the auction also featured rare art from popular American artists. Original Art for “Gin,” a single-page advertising parody from Weirdo #15 by American satirist Robert Crumb, who has lived in France since 1991, sold for $20,000.
Jack Kamen’s 1951 Original Art for page 1 of Weird Science #9 sold for $18,750. Bursting with eye appeal and a bold portrait of his iconic character The Spirit, a Splash Page of Original Art by Will Eisner, published as a newspaper insert in 1950, ended at $16,250.
A hand-curated selection of animation art included original drawings from Walt Disney shorts and films from the 1930s and 1940s and pre-production concept art. An exceptional Mermaids Concept Painting for Peter Pan by Mary Blair (Walt Disney, 1953) brought four times its pre-auction estimate to sell for $16,250.
The auction was the first of its kind held by Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest auctioneer of vintage comic books and comic art. The auction was conducted by auctioneers at Heritage in Dallas, Texas, and included a viewing audience at Heritage Auctions Europe, a Dutch entity, in IJsselstein, the Netherlands. Viewing was available on internet streaming video with live bidding capability through HeritageLive!, the firm’s proprietary auction program.