The original map of Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood by E.H. Shepard set a world record for a book illustration sold at auction, by reaching £430,000 (about $570,745) at Sotheby’s.
The previous record was also set by Shepard for the 1928 Poohsticks Bridge ink drawing from A.A. Milne’s book, The House at Pooh Corner, which sold at Sotheby’s for £314,500 (about $417,440) in 2014.
The 1926 sketch introduced readers to the world of Christopher Robin and his friends in the original book. It was drawn by Christopher himself, according to the book, it is covered in charming spelling errors that would’ve been done by a child. The map had been privately owned and unseen for nearly 50 years
Sotheby’s had estimated its value at £100,000 to £150,000 (about $132,700 to $199,100). “We’re extremely pleased, obviously,” Philip Errington, Sotheby’s senior specialist in the book department, said.
He also said that there was significant bidding on an international scale. “It reflects the fact that people fall in love with the works of A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. The map is part of the defining world of Winnie the Pooh. However, you approach Pooh, whether it was through a book or a Disney cartoon, the map is your way in. It is the first thing you encounter. It has a resonance,” he added.
Shepard’s illustrations do appear in auctions, all the back to the 1920s, but Errington pointed out that this piece hadn’t been on the market in half a century, which drove the desirability.
This marked the third time that Shepard’s original map sold at Sotheby’s. It realized £650 (about $862) in 1968 and £1,700 (about $2,256) in 1970. “So we look forward to seeing it again in another 50 years,” Errington added.