A letter “written” by Winnie the Pooh to a young boy who had invited the bear to his birthday party is expected to fetch up to £4,000 at auction.
The note of apology, addressed to “Buffkins”, was written 85 years ago by Pooh illustrator E H Shepard.
Littered with misspellings, the letter includes a pen and ink drawing of a tearful Pooh and his friend Piglet.
It is being sold by the family of birth control pioneer Marie Stopes, who was a close friend of the illustrator.
Buffkins was the childhood nickname of Marie Stopes’ son, the humanist Dr Harry Stopes-Roe.
The fictional bear was often invited to Buffkins’ birthday parties and when Shepard could not come, he would send a letter of apology.
Written in 1935, in the guise of Pooh with misspellings, it reads: “We are teribly sorry that we shant be able to come to your party on March 30th but we are going to be away. Thank you so much for inviteing us.”
Estimated to fetch between £2,000 and £4,000, the letter goes on sale at Dominic Winters Auctioneers in Cirencester on 24 June.
Auctioneer Chris Albury said when he was asked by the Stopes-Roe family to go through “an attic full of papers” there had been “no mention of Shepard or Pooh”.
“In one of the boxes there were these drawings and my heart stopped,” he said.
“The family did offer two others with Christie’s in 2001 but they weren’t aware of this one.
“We’re expecting a lot of interest. because it’s impossible not to like it.”
Shepard, who died in 1976, was an illustrator for Punch magazine for 50 years, though he remains best known for his Pooh illustrations.