Rare first editions of Beatrix Potter and A.A.Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh classic to go under the hammer
PUBLISHED: 14:31 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:57 03 December 2018
The eyes of children’s book collectors from all over the world will be on Norfolk this week, when an extraordinary collection of first editions goes under the hammer.
Sixty first editions covering almost all of the works of Beatrix Potter are among the highlights of the Keys Fine Art Auctioneers event in Aylsham, along with a rare pristine-condition first edition of AA Milne’s ‘The House At Pooh Corner’.
The books are among more than 1,400 lots which will be auctioned off during the two-day ‘Book and Ephemera’ sale, which takes place on December 6 and 7.
The collection of Beatrix Potter first editions includes all of the Edwardian author’s well-known titles, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit, her first book, published in 1902. The rare first edition has a pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,200.
Also featuring is the first edition of A.A.Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner, dating from 1928. The book is in excellent condition, right down to its pristine dust jacket, and has a pre-sale estimate of £500-£600.
Robert Henshilwood, Keys’ head of books, said he expected there would be strong interest in the books.
He said: “Keys has a national reputation in the antique book market, and this is a remarkable collection of very collectable first editions.
“Many people will remember reading these books as children, and it is that familiarity which makes them so collectable.
“We are expecting huge interest from dealers and collectors from throughout the United kingdom and beyond.”
Beatrix Potter, who was born in London in 1866, never went to school, but her parents employed an art teacher.
She spent many hours making sketches of plants and animals – including her pet rabbits Benjamin Bouncer and Peter Piper, which became the inspiration for Peter Rabbit.
Initially rejected by publishers, her first book, The Take of Peter Rabbit, was self-published in 1901, before finally finding a publisher the following year – with the proviso that Beatrix re-illustrated the book in colour.
This set the tone for a long series of similar books, all of which were a huge success.
The event follows a three-day antiques auction at Keys last week, which saw a bronze statue of a Tibetan lama sell for £56,000, 56 times its pre-sale estimate.