“S ometimes the smallest things take up the largest room in your heart,” Winnie-the-Pooh once said. Small can certainly be wonderful – consider the greatness of little Piglet, a bright red balloon or the last drop of honey. Or, if you’re lucky, a remarkable first edition of your favorite book.
Fans of A.A. Milne’s internationally renowned Winnie-the-Pooh series indeed are in luck, as Sotheby's upcoming Fine Books and Manuscripts auction will offer some small, wonderful treasures: remarkable first edition copies of Milne’s books, complete with notes from the author’s own hand.
First edition and an important presentation copy of the first Pooh book, inscribed by Milne to his wife Daphne
Published in 1924, this copy of When We were Very Young is illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. On the first page, Milne wrote to his wife: "To the girl we love from her two boys. Nov 2, 1924." The only copy of comparable importance was the dedication copy Milne inscribed to his son, Christopher Milne, which sold in Sotheby's London, 12 December 2002, for £45,000.
First American edition, no. A of 200 copies on large paper of the first Pooh book, signed and inscribed by Milne
From 1926, this copy of the first American edition of Winnie-the-Pooh is signed by both Milne and his illustrator, Shephard. Milne also wrote a poem to his American publisher on the front free endpaper: "Congratulations, dear Macrae, | Upon the very lovely way | That you have done this book. | I only wish it were indeed | As beautiful a thing to read | As you have it look." This edition comes from the family of Elliott B. Macrae, whom Milne counted as a close friend.
First edition, no. 14 of 20 copies of Now We Are Six, signed and inscribed by Milne
This first edition of Now We Are Six dates from 1927 and is signed by both Milne and his illustrator, Shepard. Milne also inscribed the edition with a poem to his American publisher: "A gallant Knight is John Macrae— | He takes me on his pillion, | And round and round the U.S.A. | He dashes on his headstrong way, | Until there dawns the glorious day | When he can sheath his sword and say, | 'Well, Now We Are Six Million.'" This edition also comes from the family of Elliott B. Macrae.