The original drawing of the map that appears inside the cover of A.A. Milne’s beloved book “Winnie-the-Pooh” sold at a Sotheby’s auction for nearly $600,000 – a record for any book illustration.
The Hundred Acre Wood map is the work of E.H. Shepard, who was asked to illustrate the book in 1926. Sotheby’s valued the map between $130,000 and nearly $200,000 (or between £100,000 and £150,000), according to a news release from May announcing the sale.
The auction house described the drawing, which was unseen for 50 years, as “possibly the most famous map in children’s literature.”
The map appears on the inside cover of the original book, setting the tone for what young readers will encounter: the adventures of a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends.
The map was supposed to have been drawn by young boy Christopher Robin, one of the main characters in the book and one of Pooh’s best friends. The map says “Drawn by me and Mr. Shepard helped” at the bottom and has a few misspellings such as “aker” and “piknicks.”
The map also features a compass, but instead of the usual north, south, east and west directions, it spells out the name Pooh.
The Hundred Acre Wood was inspired by the Ashdown Forest, 40 miles south of London. The map was used as the opening animation of the 1966 Disney movie “Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree.”
Record-breaking art sales
The original drawing of the map was first sold by Shepard in 1926 and it remained in a private collection.
Other original sketches of Pooh made by Shepard were also part of the Sotheby’s sale, according to the auction house. These sketches were estimated to be worth between $80,000 and $160,000 (or £60,000 and £120,000).