One of the most famous illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh sold at auction today in London for a record $490,470, more than three times initial estimates.
According to Agence France-Presse, E.H. Shepard's ink drawing of Pooh playing Poohsticks with Piglet and Christopher Robin broke the world record for any book illustration sold by Sotheby's auction house. A pencil drawing of the same scene went fore more than $92,000 last year.
The piece was first published in 1928 in A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner, serving both as an illustration for Chapter 6 -- "In which Pooh invents a new game and Eeyore joins in" -- and as the frontispiece.
"This illustration is central to Milne's message throughout his Winnie-the-Pooh books," the Sotheby's listing states, "and, to this Shepard has added his own detail and quiet humour: Christopher Robin is leaning over the top of the bridge, Pooh has his paws on the lowest rung and Piglet, too short to reach a rung and a little timid, safely holds onto Pooh making sure he is not too close to the edge."
The signed original illustration had been kept in a private collection for more than 40 years.
Shepard, who passed away in 1976 at age 96, collaborated with Milne on Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. The artist also famously illustrated the 1931 edition of The Wind in the Willows.