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Sunday, November 29, 1998 Published at 03:07 GMT


World: Europe

Crazy for Tintin

Tintin keeps a watchful eye over the auction

By Stephen Jessel in Paris

Fans of the cartoon strip hero, Tintin, the boy reporter who first made his appearance almost 70 years ago, have paid thousands of dollars for books, sketches and other objects associated with him and his Belgian creator, Hergé.

At a four-hour sale in Paris, collectors paid up to $25,000 for original sketches and around $30,000 for early books of his adventures, raising more than $300,000 from the sale.

A black and white sketch estimated to fetch $17,000 went for $24,000, and an early signed and numbered cartoon book sold for $16,000.

One of Tintin's travels took him to the moon in a red and white checked rocket, a model of which went for $800 at the Paris sale.

After the books were translated, the English-speaking world embraced the boy reporter with the ginger quiff, and his dog Snowy - who was called Milou in the original French version.

Premature prediction

There had been speculation that Tintin mania might have peaked, but the prices fetched at the sale, which lasted four hours, certainly suggest otherwise.

Among the objects on sale were editions of an early adventure, Tintin in the Congo, which has been criticised for its offensively imperialist and racist attitude towards Africans.

Hergé, whose political views were sometimes controversial, later expressed regrets about the adventure published in 1930.

Tintin moved to the left of the political arena over the years and the French parliament is due to debate him next year with both right and left claiming him as one of their own.



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