Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Pooh bear sketch sold for 31,000

E.H. Shepard's sketch of Pooh bear
A section of EH Shepard's illustration, Tiggers don't like honey

An original sketch of favourite AA Milne character Winnie the Pooh has fetched 31,200 at auction - almost double its pre-sale estimate.

The pencil drawing of the bear dipping a paw in a honey pot was bought by a German collector for his wife.

It was sold by the family of the artist, EH Shepard, at Bonhams auction rooms in London and easily exceeded its estimated price of 15,000-20,000.

A sketch for Kenneth Grahame's story The Wind in the Willows made 7,440.

The pencil drawing showing Rat and Mole having a picnic on a river bank, was expected to make around 10,000.

The Pooh stories are timeless because they're not laden with morality
Luke Batterham

It appeared in the published book with the caption "Now pitch in, old fellow! And the Mole was indeed very glad to obey".

The oval drawing of Pooh, also showing Tigger and Piglet, is an enlarged and expanded version of the illustration "Tiggers don't like honey" used in The house at Pooh Corner.

The successful bidder bought it on the telephone from Germany.

Bonhams' book specialist Luke Batterham told BBC News the Pooh stories are timeless because they are not "laden with morality like many childrens' tales".

He said: "The illustrations are essential. Visually, that's what is kept in people's imaginations.

"The images are constantly in the public's mind because of all the spin-offs, but you can't beat the original drawings."

Shepard's sketch for The Wind in the Willows
Rat and Mole have a picnic in Grahame's The Wind in the Willows

He added that the original books have "outlived" and "defeated" the Disney versions of the story.

Two pencil sketches by Shepard for Milne's poem Buckingham Palace made 840 for the pair.

In one, Christopher Robin salutes a palace guard; the other shows him holding hands with Alice.

The sale also featured archive material from children's illustrator Beatrix Potter.

A signed first edition of The Tailor of Gloucester plus correspondence between Beatrix and her friends, Elizabeth and Edith Todhunter, fetched 3,840.

In her letters to the sisters, Beatrix reveals her feelings about the commercialisation of her characters.

She said of Peter Rabbit: "There is nothing more to be made of Peter commercially. There have been dolls, china, slippers, etc for years - they bring in royalties; but somehow I never care for them."

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