Marble head of French queen sells for €1 million

A 600-year-old marble head, believed to be from a sculpture of French queen Jeanne de Bourbon, wife of Charles V, was auctioned off for €1.15 million ($1.3 million) in Paris this week.

Marble head of French queen sells for €1 million
The marble head of a French queen sells at auction for over €1million. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The head, believed to date from between 1370 and 1380, is decorated with intricate braids in fashion at the time and is "well preserved despite light damage to the nose and lips," according to the Piasa auction house.

The work is attributed to Flemish sculptor to the royals Jean de Liege.

The auction house said all evidence pointed "to this exceptional head originating from the tomb effigy of Jeanne de Bourbon, Queen of France."

Among the clues cited by Piasa were  the form of a crown on the sculpture and damage to the back of the head suggesting it was hacked off when the tomb was vandalised during the French Revolution.

"Only a royal effigy could have warranted such an operation."Queen Jeanne, not renowned for her beauty, died shortly after giving birth to her ninth child aged 40.

"To find ourselves in the presence of the effigy bust of Jeanne de Bourbon may seem extraordinary," said Piasa, adding that various elements from her vandalised tomb had come to light in recent years.

The auction house said the exact journey of the effigy from its removal during the revolution to its reappearance in the hands of a Belgian antiques dealer more than fifty years ago "will doubtless remain a mystery."

"It was detached, preserved, then haggled over; sold to a trafficker in royal goods; bought by an admirer of the Ancien Regime; taken across the frontier before falling into the hands of the antiques trade; and finally acquired by a Belgian engineer enamoured of beautiful objects."

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Tintin print signed by Aldrin triples estimates at Paris auction

A print from a classic "Tintin" comic book signed by American astronaut Buzz Aldrin fetched 33,800 euros ($37,250), triple the auction house's estimate, at a Paris sale on Saturday.

Tintin print signed by Aldrin triples estimates at Paris auction
The print was signed by several US astronauts including Buzz Aldrin. Photo: Artcurial
The image from “Explorers on the Moon”, a 1950s adventure where the Belgian reporter becomes the first human on the Moon, features an inscription from Aldrin: “First moonwalkers after Tintin.”
Aldrin was famously the second man to walk on the lunar surface after Neil Armstrong during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission.
Interest in Tintin memorabilia has only strengthened since author Herge died in 1983 — an original drawing for a first edition was sold for $1.12 million in June this year.
Earlier this week in Paris, an original page from another Tintin book “King Ottokar's Sceptre” sold for 394,000 euros, far above its reserve price.   
However, the star item at Saturday's Paris auction failed to sell.   
The Paris auction house Artcurial valued a Tintin drawing from “The Shooting Star” adventure at €150,000 to €200,000, but no bidders were forthcoming.
More than 200 million Tintin books have now been sold worldwide, translated into roughly 70 languages.