A rare illustration by Belgian Cartoonist Hergé, the “father” of Tintin, sold for 629,000 Euros, at an auction of comics at Christie’s in Paris.

Hergé designed and painted the water colour for the cover of the weekly magazine supplement “Petit Vingtième” that circulated on June 22 1939. It depicts Tintin and his faithful dog Milou in an episode from “King Ottokar’s Sceptre”, the seventh book of adventures by the productive journalist.

The work is valued between 500,000 and 600,000 Euros.

The 20.7x 20.7 cm square painting depicts a hungry Tintin fleeing the imaginary kingdom of Borduria clasping a loaf of bread and a demijohn of wine tightly to his chest. Milou runs next to him with a bone in his mouth. This work had never been up for auction. “Hergé had offered it to a friend and the gift had remained in the lucky recipient’s family for almost 77 years”, says Philippe Goddin, Hergé’s biographer and author of the note that accompanied this work at the auction.

“King Ottokar’s Sceptre” was printed between August 1938 and August 1939, as a serial in black and white in the “Petit Vingtième”, the weekly supplement for young people of the conservative catholic newspaper “Le Vingtième siècle” (The Twentieth century).

The covers of the “Petit Vingtième” are among collectors’ favourites. In the pages of this supplement and particularly in “King Ottokar’s Sceptre”, the Belgian artist attained his complete maturity as a cartoonist and narrator. Consequently, the sketch in ink and water colour could only be by Hergé.