Happy National Winnie the Pooh Day! January 18 is the official day to honor the “silly old bear” who has been popular since the first Pooh book was published on Oct. 14, 1926. The book was inspired by 5-year-old Christopher Robin Milne’s love of the London Zoo and its most popular animal at the time, a bear named Winnie that had been donated to the zoo by a young veterinarian from Winnipeg, Canada. The vet-turned-soldier had brought the bear with him while serving in World War I. Winnie was left in the temporary care of the London Zoo on Dec. 9, 1914, when the soldier’s regiment was called to the battlefields of France. The young vet permanently donated the bear to the London Zoo in 1919. In 1926, Christopher Robin was inspired by a zoo visit to rename his own stuffed bear Winnie the Pooh. His father, A.A. Milne, published the first of many books about Pooh and his friends on October. 14, 1926.

The first book had Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Owl and Rabbit, all based on toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne. Tigger was added later. Original editions of “Winnie the Pooh” have green cloth binding with E. H. Shepard’s illustrations of Pooh and Christopher Robin stamped in gilt. First edition copies have a yellow pictorial dust jacket with 117th thousand printed on the back flap and 7/6 net pricing on the spine. The front and rear papers are illustrated with a map of the “100 Aker Wood.”

Whether they bring big prices or not, Winnie the Pooh toys, artwork and books continue to be popular after nearly 100 years. And as Winnie himself said, “If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day, so that I never have to live a day without you.”

winnie the pooh steiff teddy bear walt disney limited edition 1994

Winnie the Pooh plush toy, made by Steiff for the 1994 Walt Disney World Teddy Bear and Doll Convention, gold mohair, shoe button eyes, ultra-suede paw pads, growler, button in ear and hang tag, sold with cloisonne collector’s pin and embroidered bag, 12 in., $123.   Photo: Apple Tree Auction Center

 

winnie the pooh baby dish stephen slesinger

Winnie the Pooh baby dish, ceramic, marked “Stephen Slesinger Inc. / Made in Bavaria,” 1 3/4 x 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 in., $29.   Photo: Lodestar Auctions

 

winnie the pooh first edition book by a a milne 1985

Winnie the Pooh book, First Easton Press Edition, First Printing, Easton Press, Norwalk, Conn., 1985. Hardcover, leather bound, gilt trim, printed on archival paper with gilt edges, moire endsheets with a silk ribbon page marker, $299.   Photo: Biblio.com (Rare Book Cellar)

 

 

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