An original Tintin comic book cover that the legendary Belgian artist Hergé created in 1932 has fetched more than €1.3 million at a Paris auction.
An anonymous collector paid €1,338,509.20 (about $1.7 million Cdn including auction house premium) for the rare cover illustration of Tintin in America at the Artcurial auction house in Paris on Saturday.
The ink and gouache drawing is one of just five remaining cover works of this type by Hergé, the pen name of Belgian author-illustrator Georges Remi.
"The aim was not to beat a record; the aim was to obtain the work, before anything else," a man named Didier, who represented the anonymous buyer, told Reuters.
The same cover drawing previously sold at Artcurial in 2008 for €764,000 (nearly $985,000 Cdn).
Part of a larger sale of more than 700 pieces of Tintin memorabilia, the Tintin in America cover depicts the globe-trotting boy journalist dressed as a cowboy and seated next to his dog Snowy, with several frowning and armed Native Americans creeping up behind him.
Hergé, who died in 1983, has regularly come under criticism for his depictions of racial stereotypes — most notably in his instalment Tintin in the Congo. He later revised some editions of his books and apologized for his naive earlier viewpoints.
Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson released a long-awaited Tintin film adaptation titled The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in late 2011 and have said they're working on a sequel.
The Tintin in America cover is the latest rare comic to fetch a lofty price.
In December 2011, a rare and near pristine first-edition copy of Action Comics — in which Superman makes his debut — sold to an anonymous buyer for $2.16 million US at auction. In March 2011, a copy of 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15 — featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man — was sold in a private deal for $1.1 million US.