PARIS (AFP).- A rare original drawing of Tintin from the comic book album "Tintin in America" sold for 753,000 euros ($798,000) on Saturday in Paris, the Artcurial auction house said.
The 21x15 cm (8.2 x 5.9 inch) China ink drawing by the Belgian cartoonist known as Herge, one of four colour plates of the 1937 edition of the book, was valued at between 600,000 and 700,000 euros.
The drawing, sold with its colour overlay, shows the intrepid boy reporter, revolver in hand, standing on the running board of a speeding taxi chasing evil-doers in the streets of Chicago.
Saturday's price almost surpassed the record-setting price of 770,600 euros for another Herge drawing sold in 2015, Eric Leroy, a comic books expert at Artcurial, told AFP.
"This proves the market stability of Herge," Leroy said. "Collectors are always interested in very beautiful pieces, which was the case (today). This drawing with its colour overlay really has the quality of a museum piece."
A "European buyer" walked away with the winning bid, Artcurial said in a statement, adding that more than 80 percent of the items up for auction found buyers.
Another Tintin drawing, which sold for 67,000 euros, shows crusty sailor Captain Haddock wearing a plumed hat and brandishing a sword alongside Tintin and his dog Snowy. It was a "record" price for this type of drawing, Leroy said, valued at between 15,000 and 20,000 euros before the auction.
A drawing of Tintin with a model of the Unicorn vessel went for 65,000 euros after being valued at less than 18,000 euros.
Herge colour plates -- limited to four in each of eight black-and-white albums from "Tintin in the Congo" (1931) to "The Crab with the Golden Claws" (1941) -- rarely appear on the market.
But original Tintin comic book drawings have been known to fetch millions at auctions over the years.
In November a drawing from "Explorers on the Moon" sold for 1.55 million euros at Artcurial, setting a record for a single cartoon drawing.
© Agence France-Presse