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Original drawing before the auction in Brussels (9 December)

Photo: John Thys / AFP

Again and again, originals by famous comic artists fetch considerable sums at auction. This also applies to the »Asterix« series. Expectations in Brussels had originally been correspondingly high.

On offer was the original cover of the comic »Asterix and Cleopatra«, a gouache drawing from 1963. The auction house Millon estimated the value of the drawing at 400,000 to 500,000 euros.

However, as a result of the legal objection of Albert Uderzo's daughter, the original drawing by the late "Asterix" illustrator did not find a buyer on Sunday.

For the cover picture, Uderzo had parodied the film poster for the Hollywood film »Cleopatra« starring Elizabeth Taylor, the most expensive film of all time at the time. The seller, according to Millon, was the son of the longtime owner. It was given as a gift by Uderzo himself more than 50 years ago – "at a dinner with friends".

Uderzo's daughter Sylvie, however, disputed this information and filed a lawsuit for unlawful possession or theft. The public prosecutor's office had closed the case on Friday. However, Sylvie Uderzo continued to threaten potential buyers with criminal prosecution.

Auction house: Objection may have deterred

"The aim of the lawsuit is first of all to prevent the sale or in any case to get more time to clarify the circumstances of the possession of the drawing," lawyer Orly Rezlan had said before the court's decision.

At the auction on Sunday, there was no offer from a buyer for the expected price. The general director of the auction house, Arnaud de Partz, told the AFP news agency that the buyers may have been deterred by the objection of the daughter of Uderzo, who died in 2020.

The previous auction record for an Asterix drawing is a good 1.4 million euros for the cover of the "Tour de France" issue.