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Produced as the cover illustration for a June 1939 issue of the ‘Petit Vingtième’, a weekly supplement to the catholic newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, a Hergé artwork showing Tintin was the star turn of a recent French sale.

It made a premium-inclusive €607,500 (£534,600) in the Bande Dessiné & Illustration auction held by Christie’s Paris (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) on May 3.

The drawing depicts Tintin clutching bread and wine to his chest as he and his dog, Milou (aka Snowy), make a rapid escape from the fascist kingdom of Borduria into neighbouring Syldavia.

It illustrates an episode from the eighth of Hergé’s tales, King Ottokar’s Sceptre, as it is known in English, a satirical work inspired by Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria and its threats to Czechoslovakia.

Serialised over 12 months, beginning in August 1938, the tale that is now recognised as one of Hergé’s finer achievements first appeared in book form in 1939, though this particular illustration was not reproduced in that original uncoloured version.

In remarkably fresh condition, the signed ink and watercolour on paper artwork, just over 8in (21cm) square, had been given by Tintin’s creator – real name Georges Remi – to a friend and it had remained with his family until this year.

King Ottokar’s Sceptre is a satirical work inspired by Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria and its threats to Czechoslovakia

Astronomical figures

Sold for around five times the estimate, record and premium-inclusive sum of €269,400 (£237,070) to a European collector in a May 5 sale at Artcurial (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) was an ink and watercolour artwork featuring Astro Boy.

The creation of Japanese manga artist and film maker, Osamu Tezuka, a man who has been called the ‘Godfather of Manga’ and the Japanese Walt Disney – Astro Boy is an android imbued with human emotions.

Sold to a robot circus, he is rescued by a professor who creates for him a robotic family of his own.

The adventures of Astro Boy were serialised in Japan from 1952-68 but this was a rare and early example of Tezuka’s work, produced c.1956-57 for the magazine Shonen.

Astro Boy found fresh fame with the release of the 2009 Hong Kong- US anime film of that name.