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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Peter Rabbit sells for 2,800
Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter became famous for her animal characters
A 95-year-old Peter Rabbit toy fetched nearly 3,000 - about four times its estimated value - when it went under the hammer in Herefordshire.

The stuffed bunny, made by German toy company Steiff in about 1908, was sold to a telephone bidder for 2,800 at Brightwells Auctioneers in Leominster on Wednesday.

The lot included the original owner's copy of Beatrix Potter's book and photographs of Joan Peachey, who died two years ago.

Ms Peachey was given the soft toy when she was just three-years-old and kept it until her death.

The toy rabbit, which depicts one of the author's most famous creations, attracted interest from several people, a Brightwells spokeswoman said.

She said it was eventually sold to a telephone bidder who lives in the south of England.

The toy, which is in good condition apart from a small bare patch on its stomach, easily exceeded the estimated catalogue price of 500 to 700.

'Extremely collectable'

Auctioneer Geoffrey Crofts said: "There has been a lot of interest in Peter Rabbit.

"He is extremely collectable for two reasons.

"Firstly, he is one of the first Beatrix Potter toys and he is also a Steiff, one of the most collectable names in the toy world."

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published by Beatrix Potter in 1902 and she created about 20 well-loved children's tales involving a host of animal characters including Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

She was born in 1866 in South Kensington, London, but moved to Cumbria where she created her animal characters.

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14 Apr 03  |  Gloucestershire
Windfall as Peter Rabbit turns 100
11 Jul 02  |  England

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