Published on July 28th, 2016 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw
150 Years of Beatrix Potter
Today celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, with a 10-stamp issue depicting six characters and scenes from her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which can all be found in the Beatrix Potter Presentation Pack.
Beatrix Potter– devised some of the best loved characters of children’s books. With 250m sales she is one of the most published authors of all time. Her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, at 45m sales is amongst the biggest selling children’s book of all time. She today remains amongst the world’s best-selling children’s authors.
Born in the Kensington borough of London on 28 July 1866, Potter was a keen botanist and artist in her youth, selling her first drawings at the age of 23.
She published 28 books in her lifetime, of which 23 are “tales” which she illustrated. She illustrated her tales, often basing them on real animals and pets that she had. She created Peter Rabbit in a letter to the son of her former governess in 1893, naming her creations after her own pets. Sadly after being turned down by several children’s publishers Beatrix self-published the story of The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1901, a few months after the real Peter had died. Beatrix Potter later moved to a farm near Windermere in the Lake District, where she lived until her death in 1945.
Beatrix Potter Collectible Stamps and Coins
In addition to the anniversary stamps, a Peter Rabbit postmark will be stamped on mail posted in what was Potter’s local post box in Cumbria in the week following her anniversary. The mark is a copy of one of Potter’s earliest drawings of the famous character.
The anniversary year has also seen the Royal Mint issue commemorative 50p coins for several characters including the Beatrix Potter Brilliant Uncirculated 50p Coin, a “mini-musical” celebrating her performed at the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere and the creation of a Girlguiding Beatrix Potter Anniversary Challenge badge.
A World of Beatrix Potter
Today the Beatrix Potter brand is valued at $500m annually. New stories have been commissioned and there is a National Trust Gallery of her art in the Lake District, as well as a World of Beatrix Potter Visitor Attraction.
Worldwide, the characters of the Tales are hugely popular. 10% of visitors to the World of Beatrix Potter are from Japan, and the first foreign language translation of her books was into Japanese in 1906. Peter Rabbit especially remains a much loved character in Japan, with Europe, the USA and Australia major markets for the books and merchandise.
One of the original copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, featuring 41 full-page line drawings, will go under the hammer at a London auction house later on today as part of a sale of Beatrix Potter memorabilia. It is expected to fetch around £35,000.
The sale also includes an illustration Beatrix did for a Christmas card, and an original watercolour design for The Story of Miss Moppet.
Created in 1906, the drawing of the mouse – estimated to fetch up to £12,000 – was autographed by Potter and includes her notes.
Many of the 62 lots at the Dreweatts & Bloomsbury auction have been acquired by collector John Cawood since 1972.
If you are a collector or are simply looking for a unique gift for family and friends, take a look at the wide range of Collectibles including coins, stamps and other memorabilia available from the Post Office Shop.