PARIS – A rare series of sketches of Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka’s robot character Astro Boy sold for a record €269,400 (¥35.1 million) at an auction in Paris Saturday.
“It’s a world record for this artist whose works are few in the market,” said Eric Leroy, an expert on comic strips in the auction house Artcurial.
The winning bid was five times the pre-sale estimate and Leroy put this down to “the rarity and exceptional character” of the China ink and water color strip, which measures 35 cm by 25 cm.
It was drawn at the end of the 1950s and comprises six panels showing Astro Boy fighting an enemy.
The buyer was a “European collector who had been dreaming for a long time” of buying the sketch, he said.
“Astro Boy is an emblematic work which has nursed a whole generation of collectors,” he said.
Astro Boy was serialized in Japan from 1952 to 1968, centered on an android with human emotions who is sold to a robot circus but saved from servitude by a professor who creates a robotic family for him.