Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look at one of the most famous Disney characters...
Helping many of you enjoy (or survive) the six weeks’ summer holidays will be the release of this week’s hotly-anticipated new Disney film; “Christopher Robin”, featuring “live animation” characters of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and more.
Created by the poet and playwright A.A. Milne to amuse his son, Christopher Robin Milne, Winnie’s delightful adventures featured Christopher’s own toy teddy, bought in Harrods in 1912 and now housed at the New York Public library. Joined by a cast of personable characters based on his other toys (including Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Roo), he himself was the basis for the only child in the stories, Christopher Robin.
The first Winnie the Pooh short stories were published in 1926, where Pooh’s naïve but genial nature and Milnes’ poetic prose garnered fans across generations and has remained extremely popular ever since.
Winnie the Pooh merchandising began as early as 1930, and the animation of the Pooh stories by the media giant Disney in 1966 brought a global audience. As such, there is a wealth of Pooh merchandise, however, high quality collectible pieces can be few and far between, and fetch huge sums.
A private collection of eight of the first-ever sketches of Winnie sold for a whopping combined £600,000 in 2013. Pooh-pilgrims can gaze on more original Shepard illustrations in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
The majority of Pooh memorabilia is made up of toys, prints, board games, clothing and everything in between with designs split between the original E.H Shepard style and the Disney version, both very collectible.
The first ceramic Winnie the Pooh figures in the Disney style were produced by Beswick from 1968 until 1990 and now fetch around £50-60 each, rising to £120 for one including Christopher Robin.
Royal Doulton's 90s collection of Pooh figures reverting to the original Shepard style is their most popular issue ever. Check for early ones featuring a 70th-anniversary backstamp, which already fetch double their original prices.
Almost every home will have much-loved Winnie the Pooh books, so it’s worth checking for first editions, which can go for thousands of pounds (sadly, less so if covered in honey).