What price a rickety old wooden bridge stretched across a small stream in a wood in the south east of England?
Around £60,000 if the auction estimate is accurate.
Surely you could buy a much better new one for a fraction of that sum?
Ah yes, but not one associated with such a dearly loved character as Winnie the Pooh – and certainly not one that could claim to be home to the legendary game of Pooh Sticks.
First described in A.A. Milne’s The House At Pooh Corner, the bridge could be found in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, near the author’s home.
Milne’s son, the model for Christopher Robin, played on it as a boy, as have generations of children since.
After countless thousands of had tramped across it, it was replaced with an iron bridge in 1999; now, 114 years after it was first constructed, the bridge has come up for auction.
So how to put a price on something so simply made and with such little intrinsic value, but whose associations catapult it into the collectables stratosphere?
Certainly, £60,000 for something so iconic does not appear unreasonable, but if a rich enough fan comes up against someone equally determined to secure it on the day, bidding could rise far beyond that figure.
The best way to price such an item is to look at other auction prices for major pieces linked to Milne and Pooh. The original Hundred Acre Wood map illustrated by E.H. Shepard sold for £430,000 in 2018, which makes the bridge’s estimate look a bit of a bargain.