Popular collectibles from A.A. Milne

Through the past nearly one hundred years, a favorite collectible on both sides of the pond has been the popular bear Winnie the Pooh. Winnie and his friends have indeed become classic favorites for millions of children and adults alike, although that was not really the intent.

A.A. Milne, a prolific writer, died in 1956 at the age of 73. Unfortunately for him, he did not live to see his ‘Bear of Little Brain’ become a global, multi-million dollar industry, due in large part to Walt Disney. Originally intended for his own son, the first appearance of Winnie the Pooh was actually published in the London Evening News on December 24, 1925. In 1926 a book Winnie the Pooh hit the bookshelves.

Some bits of trivia may be of interest:

The actual “Pooh”, a teddy bear, was bought from Harrods, the megastore in London, and given by A.A. Milne to his son Christopher Robin on his first birthday, August 21, 1921. He was first called Edward Bear.

The other toys, namely, a donkey, kangaroo, piglet, and tiger, were all gifts to Christopher Robin between 1920 and 1928.

Obviously, Christopher Robin played with his toys, but also did the family dog. That is most likely the reason that the toys had a well-worn appearance.   

The Owl and Rabbit were later brought to life to join Pooh and his pals Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, and Tigger by the author Milne and the book’s illustrator E.H. Shepard.

The original toys now reside in a glass case at the New York Public Library, except for Roo. Roo was lost in the 1930s in an orchard.

As an aside, if you ever have the interest, near the village of Upper Hartfield, in East Sussex, England, there is the Poohsticks Bridge.  So many people have visited it that the bridge has needed repairing. The area thrives on Pooh history and the author A.A. Milne set his famous Winnie the Pooh books around the 500 Acre Wood, which is known in the books as The Hundred Acre Wood.  Ironically, Milne’s house later was the home of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Shortly after Jones moved in the house, he tragically drowned in its swimming pool.

If you are a Pooh collector, a few of the auction results may interest you. A first edition pair of Winnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner sold for approximately$11,000 in an auction. Pooh Lowers the Sail, which were sketches by the illustrator Ernest Shepard, sold for nearly $11,000 in auction

In 2000 the residents of Winnipeg, Canada paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars at a Sotheby auction for the only known oil painting of Winnie the Pooh by Shepard. They bought it to be the centerpiece of the planned Winnie the Pooh Museum. The irony of that was Winnie was named after a black bear cub named Winnie, whose owner Lieutenant Harry Colebourn came from the Canadian town from which the name was derived. Pooh collectibles are constantly increasing in value.

Jeff Figler has authored more than 700 published articles about collecting. He is a certified professional appraiser and one of the world’s leading experts on collectibles. His latest book, “The Picker’s Pocket Guide to Baseball Memorabilia” has been #1 on Amazon. He can be reached at info@jefffigler.com.