Original Tezuka drawings fetch steep prices at auctions in Japan, abroad

The Yomiuri Shimbun

An original drawing from the “Tetsuwan Atomu” (Astro Boy) comic book series that sold for ¥8.8 million on Saturday is shown with an envelope in which the drawing was enclosed. Osamu Tezuka is named on the envelope as the sender.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Original drawings by manga artist Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) have fetched steep prices at auctions that typically feature antiques and paintings, with an original drawing from the “Tetsuwan Atomu” (Astro Boy) series going for €269,400 (about $310,000 or ¥35 million) at a Paris auction in May.

A major dealer plans to hold a manga-themed auction in Tokyo in mid-November. Observers expect works by Tezuka and other famed manga artists to attract growing interest.

At an auction held Saturday in Tokyo, an original drawing of “Astro Boy” sold for ¥8.8 million (about $77,700) — the most expensive item that day — alongside antiques, antiquarian books and modern artworks. At a separate auction for Tezuka works in March, an original color illustration of the cover of “Shinjinrui Fumoon” (Next World) sold for ¥15 million.

As manga artists typically keep original drawings, such works rarely appear on the market. A relatively large number of Tezuka originals, however, have been sold in the used book market as the legendary artist gave drawings to fans and others, according to sources.

His original drawings have recently been purchased by buyers from Europe, the United States and China, which appears to be one reason for the rising bidding prices.

Shinwa Auction Co., which hosted the March auction of Tezuka works, plans to hold the manga-themed auction on Nov. 17.

The Tokyo-based company plans to put 59 items up for bidding, including color illustrations of “Astro Boy,” “Janguru Taitei” (Jungle Emperor Leo), “Ribon no Kishi” (Princess Knight) and other works by Tezuka.

The items also include shikishi illustrated square cards signed by manga artists Fujio Akatsuka, Mitsuteru Yokoyama and Shigeru Mizuki, as well as celluloid anime pictures.

“Illustrations drawn by manga artists themselves and original drawings are, so to speak, equivalent to original hand-painted ukiyoe paintings,” Shinwa Managing Director Keishi Satsuki said.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    A “Ribon no Kishi” (Princess Knight) illustration set to be auctioned later this month

“There is great demand for Japanese manga both at home and abroad as there are many famous characters worldwide,” Satsuki said.Speech

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