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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Beatrix Potter cards under hammer
Mice eating Christmas pudding at a table

Four Christmas cards, hand-painted by Beatrix Potter, have been sold at auction after being discovered in the attic of one of her relatives.

The cards, which belonged to a man from Oxfordshire, were sold to three bidders for a total of 41,500.

They were painted for Potter's young cousins, Bessie and Elinor Lupton, whose mother died in childbirth, to cheer them up at Christmas.

Bidding was brisk with interest shown from Japan and the USA.

Hoarded items

Auctioneer Martin Kidson-Trigg said it was a wonderful story of literally finding hidden treasures in the attic.

"The family started the arduous task of sifting through the boxes of items that have been passed down through the family from elderly relatives who hoarded everything," he said.

"In one of the trunks, in an old brown envelope, they discovered the four postcards."

Nationally and Internationally, there has been a huge demand for Beatrix Potter memorabilia. The four cards that have survived are in good condition and illustrate:

  • Rabbits playing in the snow with a sledge, signed in ink HBP 94.

  • Rabbits and bunnies (kittens) on bicycles, signed H.B.P. Christmas 1895.

  • Mice eating Christmas pudding at a table, signed with best wishes for Christmas from Beatrix Potter. Dec 1893.

  • Mouse opening a larder door to reveal the food inside, signed H.B.P. 1890.

    Helen Beatrix Potter, who lived from 1866 to 1943, was the author and illustrator of a popular series of children's books which included The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published in 1902.

    Japan copies Beatrix Potter home
    12 Jun 06 |  Cumbria

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