Auctions | March 5, 2021

Winnie the Pooh Illustration Could Bring $50,000+ at Heritage Auctions

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

Ernest Howard Shepard, It Appears You have Eaten a Bee, The House at Pooh Corner interior illustration, 1928. Estimate: $30,000-50,000

Dallas – A 93-year-old Winnie the Pooh illustration, Chas Addams cartoons, all three original trilogy Star Wars video cassette covers and an array of pulp covers from Norman Saunders and Virgil Finlay are among the top highlights in Heritage Auctions’ Illustration auction April 30.

“This is a well-balanced sale that will appeal to collectors of widely varying tastes, with images that will take us all back to earlier years,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “Ernest Howard Shepard’s ink drawing perfectly captures the characters from Winnie the Pooh, which just about everyone would list as a childhood favorite: Alberto Vargas for the elite pin-up art collectors, Norman Saunders for pulp enthusiasts, and Star Wars and Star Trek images that are iconic to generations of film fans.”

Ernest Howard Shepard It Appears You have Eaten a Bee, The House at Pooh Corner interior illustration, 1928 (estimate: $30,000-50,000) is illustrated on page 29 of A.A. Milne's book, The House at Pooh Corner in Chapter II, “In which Tigger Comes to the Forest and has Breakfast.” E.V. Lucas, a staffer at the British humor magazine Punch recommended Shepard to A.A. Milne in 1923. Milne tested Shepard by having the artist illustrate When We Were Very Young. Thrilled with Shepard’s interpretation, Milne hired the artist to illustrate Winnie-the-Pooh and went on to share of the royalties for the novel with the illustrator.

The auction includes two other images by Shepard, including Christopher Robin with Railings study (estimate: $5,000-7,000) and The Stew Was Perfect and There was Plenty of it, The Ogre Counting, 1995 (estimate: $500-700).

Also offered are three Star Wars video cassette covers from John Alvin, the artist who famously created images for more than 200 films, starting with Blazing Saddles in 1974 and continuing through a list that included such classics as E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Alvin, whose evocative style became a mainstay in the industry over the course of his career, is known best for his work with Disney, but over the course of his career produced posters for all of the major film studios. Lots by Alvin include:

  • John Alvin Star Wars New Hope, International Video Cover, 1995 (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
  • John Alvin Star Wars Empire Strikes Back, International Video Cover, 1995 (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
  • John Alvin Star Wars Return of the Jedi, International Video Cover, 1995 (estimate: $20,000-30,000)

Science fiction collectors also will be drawn to Boris Vallejo’s Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn book cover, 1982 (estimate: $8,000-12,000). Published as the book cover of Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn by Vonda N. McIntyre (Pocket, 1982), this work depicts William Shatner’s Capt. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.

The auction features 11 lots by Alberto Vargas, widely recognized as one of the greatest of pin-up artists. Vargas earned a measure of notoriety in the 1940s as the creator of iconic World War II-era pin-ups for Esquire magazine, portraying women who came to be known as “Varga Girls.” He created 180 paintings for Esquire magazine and later produced more than 150 paintings for Playboy magazine, which led to exhibitions all over the world.

The Vargas highlights in the auction include, but are not limited to:

  • Alberto Vargas Bewitched (Jack of Hearts) (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
  • Alberto Vargas Vargas Girl, Playboy interior illustration, June 1973 (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
  • Alberto Vargas Gangster's Choice, 1927 (estimate: $12,000-18,000)

The pulp field has seen a huge infusion of new collectors over the last few years, with the magazines themselves actively sought out now by advanced comic book collectors, and many new records have been set. The original cover artwork is very scarce, which has made it more difficult for these collectors to make the transition to collecting the art. Included in the auction will be Claimed, Famous Fantastic Mysteries cover, April 1941, a great example by Virgil Finlay (estimate: $25,000-35,000), as well as five lots by Norman Saunders, the 20thcentury American illustrator known for his many lurid covers for pulp and men’s magazines, his dramatic painted comic book and paperback covers, and his infamous trading card scenes for Topps. After becoming a free-lance pulp artist, Saunders painted for all of the major publishers and was known for is fast-action scenes and beautiful women. A versatile artist who could produce art for a number of genres, he also produced art quickly, sometimes producing as many as 100 paintings in a single year.

  • Norman Saunders The Crime of My Life, 10 Story Detective cover, February 1949 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Norman Saunders from the Murdered, 10 Story Detective cover, November 1942 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Norman Saunders Dames on A Bullet Binge, Ten Detective Aces illustration cover, June 1941 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Norman Saunders Up Pops the Corpse, 10 Story Detective cover, July 1941 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)

The auction includes an assortment of cartoons by Chas Addams, the artist renowned for his dark-yet-humorous characters, some of whom became the Addams Family, which spun off into a long-running television show and feature film. His cartoons often appeared in The New Yorker, Collier’s and TV Guide.

Included among the Addams highlights in the auction are:

Charles Addams Cartoon - "The Addam's Family," Addams and Evil interior illustration (estimate: $5,000-7,000)

Charles Addams Cartoon -"Man in a Basket, discovered on a Doorway," The New Yorker interior illustration, July 2, 1938 (estimate: $3,000-5,000)

Charls Addams "Nonsense, dear. Four Hundred and thirty-eight isn't old!," Black Maria interior illustration (estimate: $2,500-3,500)

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

  • Enoch Bolles Looking for a Model Young Man, Fun Film cover, November 1933 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Enoch Bolles Up to Date, Fun Film cover, May 1921 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Louis Darling The Enormous Egg, interior illustration, 1956 (estimate: $8,000-12,000)
  • Tom Lovell Gold Mining Camp (estimate: $6,000-8,000)

For images and information about all lots in the auction, visit