London, Oct 3 (US): The adventures of honey-loving bear “Winnie the Pooh” have captivated children – and their parents – for nearly 100 years. Fans now have a chance to own a central part of Pooh’s history, when a country bridge from southern England is put up for auction next week.
The author of the popular Pooh series of books, A.A. Milne, often played with his son, Christopher Robin, on the bridge in the 1920s. It became a regular setting for the adventures of Pooh and his friends in the series launched in 1926, the AP reports.
James Rylands of Summer Place Auctions, who has previously sold 20-ton pieces of the Berlin Wall, said:
Describing the bridge as “one of the most iconic literary objects out there,” Rylands hoped it would fetch 250,000 pounds, well above the estimate of 40,000 to 60,000 pounds put up at auction on Tuesday.
“When you actually talk about history and add the passion and happiness that Winnie the Pooh has brought to generations as kids and adults over the years, it’s very hard to price,” Rylands said. “If it sold for a quarter of a million pounds, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
The bridge, originally called Posingford Bridge, was built around 1907 and officially renamed Poohsticks Bridge in 1997 by the late author’s son, whose game animals were the basis of the Pooh series.
It was then removed in 1999 after visitors eroded it and replaced with a new structure that was largely financed by Disney.
The original bridge was dismantled and stored in the Ashdown Forest Center in South East Sussex, until the local parish council recently gave permission to restore and salvage it. The bridge, which is 8.87 meters long and 4.5 meters wide (29 ft x 15 ft), has now been completely restored using local oak for any missing elements.
The auction coincides with the centenary of Pooh’s arrival in the world when Christopher Robin received a fluffy teddy bear from luxury department store Harrods for his first birthday.
Rylands said there is interest from around the world, but he hopes the bridge will remain local.
“I hope he stays at Sussex because he obviously has a great connection to the region,” he said. “But if it did end up in the United States or Japan already, I have no doubts that he would be a little likable there, too.”