The antique adventures of Tintin and Asterix!

Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks back at memorabilia associated with these comic book favourites...

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 3:30 pm
These figurines are from a collection currently in the centre, averaging around six pounds for the more common ones. The rarer Tintin in a brown coat holding a gun and binoculars is nine pounds
These figurines are from a collection currently in the centre, averaging around six pounds for the more common ones. The rarer Tintin in a brown coat holding a gun and binoculars is nine pounds

With fewer foreign holidays and exchanges this summer holiday, I thought we’d take a virtual trip across the channel and look at two ever-popular collectables who have delighted and entertained children for decades: Asterix and Tintin.

‘The Adventures of Asterix’ is a French comic book series about the adventures of amusing Gaulish warriors in the Roman Republic. Written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, the series debuted on 29 October 1959, with the most recent book being published in October 2019.

One of the most popular comics in the world, the series has been translated into 111 languages, with over 380 million copies sold. Original comics and books remain very popular with collectors. UK collectors tend to avoid American editions, which contain translational differences including different character names.

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In 2017, the original cover illustration of 1965’s ‘Asterix and the Banquet’, signed by both Goscinny and Uderzo, sold for a staggering 1.4 million euros at auction in Paris.

Jumping back a few years, Tintin and his dog Snowy, created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi under the pen name Hergé, first appeared in print on 10 January 1929. Another very popular European comic, over 200 million copies of The Adventures of Tintin have been sold across 70 countries, with multiple radio, television, theatre and film adaptations.

As with most vintage and collectable comic books, condition is important, value dropping with loose or creased covers, and scribble, writing or names inside. First Tintin editions in French are the most valuable, followed by Dutch.

The most valuable Tintin comics were released in very low numbers, many also signed by Hergé. The 100 copies of the original red-bound ‘Castafiore Emerald’ are worth over £10,000, the 500 strong first print run of ‘King Ottokar’s Sceptre’ closer to £20,000 if signed.

As with most popular children’s characters, there has been a wealth of spin-off merchandise over the years. These pleasing figurines are from a collection currently in the centre, averaging around £6 for the more common ones.

The rarer Tintin in a brown coat holding a gun and binoculars is £9.

Remarkably, 2017’s ‘Asterix and the Chariot Race’ featured a charioteer called Coronavirus, and original creator and illustrator Uderzo died in March 2020 from heart failure linked to the virus, aged 92. Touchingly, four original drawings sold by his family after his death raised nearly £350,000 to benefit Paris hospitals.