An original drawing by Hergé for the 1942 edition of Tintin in America, still used as the cover of the book, is expected to fetch at least €2m (£1.7m) when it is auctioned next year.
The illustration was done in Indian ink, graphite and corrective gouache, and was used for the cover of the 1942 “full-page” edition of Tintin in America. It was used again for the cover of the 1946 color edition, the version still used on the book today.
Tintin in America is the third book in the Tintin series, and sees the intrepid young Belgian reporter traveling to the US, where he spends time in Chicago and the midwest.
It was originally published in 1932 with a small printed illustration on the cover showing Tintin sitting on a rock with his dog Snowy lying next to him.
The third edition, in 1937, had a small cover illustration of Tintin riding a horse. It was printed on paper and directly pasted on to the book’s cover.
By the early 1940s, printing techniques had evolved and allowed for a full-page cover in colour.
Hergé’s drawing for the 1942 edition will be auctioned by Artcurial in Paris on 10 February as part of its The World of Hergé, Tintin’s Creator auction.
The auction house has estimated the drawing at between €2.2m and €3.2m.
Artcurial’s comic-book expert Eric Leroy said the illustration was an “outstanding piece that has inspired many generations of readers”.
Pieces of Hergé’s Tintin artwork have regularly exceeded estimates at auction.
In 2012, Artcurial sold the original drawing for the cover illustration of the 1932 edition of Tintin in America for a record €1,338,509.
And in 2021, an illustration for the cover of Le Lotus Bleu which was rejected because it would have been too expensive to mass produce, set a new world record as the most expensive comic book artwork, selling at auction for €3.2m.
In 2016, an original drawing from Explorers on the Moon sold for €1.55m, against an estimate of between €700,000 and €900,000.
And in 2014 the original ink flyleaf drawings used on all the Tintin adventures printed between 1937 and 1958 were sold for €2.65m.
Tintin first appeared in a cartoon strip in 1929 and went on to star in 24 books. Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi, died in 1983.