The adventures of the 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 piece of Pooh's history, when a countryside bridge from southern England goes up for auction next week. The author of the hugely popular Pooh series of books, AA Milne, often played with his son, Christopher Robin, at the bridge in the 1920s. It became a regular setting for the adventures of Pooh and his friends in the series that launched in 1926. The bridge, originally called Posingford Bridge, was built around 1907 and officially renamed Poohsticks Bridge in 1997 by the late author's son, whose toy animals were the basis of the Pooh series, per the AP.
The bridge was taken down in 1999 after being worn out by visitors and was replaced by a newer structure funded largely by the Disney corporation. The original bridge was dismantled and stored in Ashdown Forest Centre in East Sussex, until the local parish council recently gave permission for it to be restored and rescued. The bridge, which measures 29 feet long by 15 feet wide, has now been fully 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 the luxury department store Harrods on his first birthday.
James Rylands of Summers Place Auctions describes the bridge as "one of the most important iconic literary objects there is," laying out hope that it could go for $338,000—way beyond the $54,000 to $81,000 estimate placed on Tuesday's auction. Rylands said there's been interest from around the world, but he hopes that the bridge stays local. "I do hope it stays in Sussex, because it obviously has great relevance to the locality," he notes. "But if it does end up in the United States or indeed Japan, I have no doubt it will be a little bit loved over there as well."
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