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Sotheby's Sale of Original Winnie-the-Pooh Illustrations Brings $1.96 Million
E.H. Shepard, 'He went on tracking, and Piglet . . . ran after him' sold for the remarkable sum of £115,250 - more than double its pre-sale low estimate (est. £40,000-60,000)
NEW YORK, NY.- Today, Sotheby’s London sold the finest single collection of E.H. Shepard’s original drawings for Winnie-the-Pooh books to have come on the market. The collection of Stanley J. Seeger & Christopher Cone realised the extraordinary total of £1,262,863 ($1,968,046), well in excess of the pre-sale high estimate for the sale (est. £648,900-931,500). More than 80 clients had registered to bid in this afternoon’s auction both on the telephones and from the packed saleroom, and the auction saw all but two of the lots sell. The sale was 95.2% sold by lot and 99.8% sold by value.

Commenting on the results of today’s auction, Dr Philip W. Errington, Sotheby’s Specialist in charge of Children’s Literature and Illustrations, said: “We are delighted with the results of this outstanding sale which broke the previous world-record for a drawing by E.H. Shepard. The public have a strong affection for these drawings and we are thrilled that this significant collection has notably exceeded expectations. The interest from around the world in these superb drawings, and the highly competitive bidding from many buyers, has demonstrated the world-wide appeal of Winnie-the-Pooh.”

The top-selling lot in this afternoon’s sale was one of the most iconic and best loved illustrations of Pooh, ‘He went on tracking, and Piglet . . . ran after him’ and was extremely sought-after and contested for by more than four bidders in the saleroom and on the telephones. The illustration sold for the remarkable sum of £115,250 - more than double its pre-sale low estimate (est. £40,000-60,000) – establishing a new auction record for a drawing by E.H. Shepard.

Another well-loved ink illustration by E.H. Shepard, ‘Bump, bump, bump – going up the stairs’, sold for £97,250, almost double its pre-sale low estimate of £50,000-70,000. The ink drawing represents one of the most well-known images of the characters and comes from the final chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh: “He nodded and went out . . . and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh – bump, bump, bump – going up the stairs behind him.”

The third highest price established in today’s sale was for E.H. Shepard’s ink drawing "When Christopher Robin had nailed it on in its right place...", which brought £73,250 against a pre-sale estimate of £30,000-50,000; and one of the most celebrated locations in children’s literature, the illustrator’s preparatory sketch-map for the endpapers of Winnie-the-Pooh, realised £67,250, more than eight times its pre-sale low estimate (est. £8,000-12,000).

This important collection also included a group of significant books by A.A. Milne, some of which were extremely limited editions and others that were signed or inscribed by the author. The highlight of this selection was a first limited edition of Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), a presentation copy from the author to E.H. Shepard. The book raised a total of £39,650 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000.

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