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Pooh’s dip into honey fetches sweet price at auction

Talk about sweetening the pot: A sketch by Winnie the Pooh illustrator E.H. Shepard entitled "Tiggers Don't Like Honey" sold for $49,770 (31,200 pounds ) at an auction Nov. 4, well above the pre-sale estimate.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Tiggers might not like honey but collectors apparently do.

A sketch by Winnie the Pooh illustrator E.H. Shepard entitled “Tiggers Don't Like Honey” fetched 31,200 pounds ($49,770) at auction Tuesday, well above the pre-sale estimate of 15,000 to 20,000 pounds ($24,000 to $32,000).

The drawing of Pooh dipping his paw into a honey pot while Tigger and Piglet look on is an enlarged version of an illustration that appeared in A.A. Milne's children's classic “The House at Pooh Corner.” Bonham's auction house said Shepard's sketch likely predates the publication of “The House at Pooh Corner” in 1928.

Bonham's said it was bought by a private German collector who bid by telephone.

The sale also included items from the collection of Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter, including a letter in which the author expressed her dislike of the merchandising of her character.

“There is nothing to be made of 'Peter' commercially,” she wrote. “There have been dolls, china slippers, etc. for years — they bring in royalties; but somehow I never care for any of them.”

The 1936 letter is addressed to dollmakers Elizabeth and Edith Todhunter, two sisters Potter entrusted to make Mr. McGregor and Peter Rabbit figures.

The Potter collection also included a signed first edition of “The Tailor of Gloucester,” which tells the story of a poor tailor, his cat, and the mice that live in his shop. The lot sold for 3,840 pounds ($6,124).

The sale prices include a buyer's premium.

In another auction on Nov. 11, Bonham's will sell an unpublished watercolor illustration by Potter of a female rabbit who wore a pink ribbon around her neck but who did not appear in any of Potter's tales. Also going up for sale then, will be a Christmas card featuring guinea pigs designed by the author and illustrator, the auction house said.