Eight early original sketches of Winnie-the-Pooh are to auction at Sotheby's London on July 10.
Among the sketches, which have been gathered from several international private collections, is a pair of illustrator EH Shepard's very early drawings of Christopher Robin and his teddy bear - considered an embryonic example of Pooh bear.
The ink illustrations were created to accompany to AA Milne's poem Vespers. Estimated at £40,000-60,000 ($64,308-96,462), one features Christopher Robin kneeling at his bedside as if in prayer, while the other depicts the young boy asleep in bed, his beloved teddy bear resting at his feet.
The drawings were last offered at auction over 90 years ago.
Shepard's 1926 ink drawing Bump, Bump, Bump is also to star. Valued at £90,000-120,000 ($114,693-192,924), the initialled work was reproduced as a full page illustration on page 159 of Winnie-the-Pooh (Methuen, 1926).
The companion illustration, which features at the start of the same edition, sold from the collection of late film director and television personality Michal Winner in December 2013. Winner's EH Shepard original brought £139,250 ($224,505), making it the most valuable Shepard drawing ever sold at auction.
Also to star at Sotheby's on July 10 is a remarkable, initialled illustration featuring Pooh Bear's compatriots Kanga, Baby Roo and Piglet. The sketch is expected to achieve $60,000-80,000 ($96,426-118,616).
Sotheby's books and manuscripts specialist Dr Phillip Errington, comments: "These are Shepard's original Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations that were then passed on to publishers.
"Winnie-the-Pooh has a place in all our hearts and is up there with Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan as one of the fundamental children's stories.
"The drawings from Vespers are particularly fascinating because it is the first time we are introduced to Christopher Robin and lying on the end of his bed is a bear…Without Vespers there would not have been Winnie-the-Pooh."
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we currently have this exceptional EH Shepard Winnie-the-Pooh original illustration in stock - yours today for £25,000.
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