LONDON (Reuters) - An original drawing of A.A. Milne’s popular children’s characters Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger and Piglet fetched 31,200 pounds ($50,000) at auction on Tuesday.
The amount, which includes a 20 percent buyer’s premium, comfortably beat pre-sale expectations of up to 20,000 pounds, not including the premium.
The oval pencil sketch by E.H. Shepard, one of children’s literature’s most famous illustrators, shows Pooh dipping his paw into a pot of honey while sitting at a table as Piglet and Tigger look on.
Auctioneer Bonhams said the successful telephone bidder was from Germany and bought the picture for his wife, a long-time Pooh fan.
On the same day, Sotheby’s announced it was offering what it called the finest single collection of Shepard’s original drawings for the Pooh books to be sold at auction.
The sale in London on December 17, which also includes a selection of rare Milne books, is expected to fetch 650-930,000 pounds.
The illustrations, from the collections of Stanley J. Seeger and Christopher Cone, are among the most recognizable, including “He went on tracking, and Piglet ... ran after him” depicting Pooh and Piglet turning to each other as they walk away.
It is expected to fetch 40-60,000 pounds.
Also on offer is “Bump, bump, bump - going up the stairs” featuring Christopher Robin dragging his bear by the leg up the stairs beside him. It is valued at 50-70,000 pounds.
Earlier in 2008, Sotheby’s set a record for the work of an illustrator at auction when Beatrix Potter’s watercolor illustration for the final scene of “The Rabbits’ Christmas Party” sequence went under the hammer for 289,250 pounds.
The drawing on sale at Bonhams was a larger version of an illustration entitled “Tiggers don’t like honey” which appeared in Milne’s “The House at Pooh Corner,” one of four books he wrote about the bear in the 1920s.
Other works by Shepard on sale at Bonhams included a first sketch for Kenneth Grahame’s “Wind in the Willows,” depicting Rat and Mole lounging with a picnic on the riverbank.
It appeared in the published book with the caption: “Now pitch in, old fellow! and the Mole was indeed very glad to obey” and fetched 7,440 pounds, including premium.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White and Michael Holden