Complete Deluxe Set of Winnie-the-Pooh Books to Auction

Lyon & Turnbull

The House at Pooh Corner

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of When We Were Very Young, Lyon & Turnbull will present a complete deluxe set of the Pooh books in outstanding condition, each being one of a limited edition signed by both author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard. The set was acquired when new by the vendors’ family and has never previously been offered for sale.

In his autobiography What Luck!, Milne discusses how When We Were Very Young was written during a wet holiday in North Wales in 1923 with another family and various other invitees:

"It rained continuously... In a week I was screaming with agoraphobia. Somehow I must escape. I pleaded urgent inspiration, took a pencil and an exercise book, and escaped to the summerhouse. It contained a chair and a table. I sat down on the chair, put my exercise book on the table, and gazed ecstatically at a wall of mist which might have been hiding Snowdon or the Serpentine for all I could see or cared." 

Milne says he had a "fixed determination not to leave the heavenly solitude of that summerhouse until it stopped raining" during which time he focused on writing poems which had been commissioned by his friend Rose Fyleman who was editing a magazine for children back in London. "I had eleven wet days in that summerhouse and wrote eleven sets of verses," he wrote, and then they returned to London, he kept on writing, and by the end of the year he'd produced enough for the book.

Its publication the following year changed his life. Printed in November, the work was in its sixth edition by Christmas, and was being acclaimed in The Times as the greatest children’s book since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

These deluxe editions were published simultaneously with the trade editions, but are very different visually, each presented in a quarto format and printed on fine handmade paper. Only 100 such copies of When We Were Very Young were produced, with the limitations increased slightly for the later works, to 350 for The House at Pooh Corner.

Winnie-the-Pooh appears in When We Very Young as an anonymous teddy. The book with his name appeared in 1926, and was followed in 1927 by a second book of children’s verse, Now We Are Six, with The House at Pooh Corner in 1928.

The set will be offered in Lyon & Turnbull's Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs sale on June 19 with an estimate of £7,000 - £10,000 for When We Were Very Young, £4,000 - £6,000 for Winnie-the-Pooh, £2,000 - £3,000 for Now We Are Six, and £2,000 - £3,000 for The House at Pooh Corner.