Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire has struck gold again with its online auction, this time with what is believed to be an original work by Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator Ernest H. Shepard.
The bidding for the drawing depicting the famed bear at Owl's treehouse closed last Wednesday at $7,618.
It's believed to be the second-highest amount paid for an item auctioned by the Redwood Empire agency.
In 2009, a New Mexico art dealer paid $70,001.01 for an original piece by famed Utah artist Maynard Dixon that was donated at the Goodwill store in Healdsburg.
The Pooh illustration was donated in Cloverdale. A store manager recognized that it might be special and set it aside, said Taylor Reedy, who oversees Goodwill's Redwood Empire stores.
The 14- by 11-inch illustration depicts Pooh standing on a branch at Owl's House and apparently deciding whether he should ring the bell or knock.
"Owl's house drawn especially for Leslie Coleman by Pooh and Mr. Shepard and Art helped," is written at the bottom of the ink rendering. There's also a tiny bear print drawn in the bottom corner.
Shepard was an English artist and book illustrator who was best known for his collaboration with author A. A. Milne on the original Pooh books. He died in 1976.
Reedy said Goodwill did not attempt to authenticate the illustration left at the Cloverdale store. "We feel very strongly it's an original," he said.
The winning bidder, whose identity is unknown, has until Wednesday to pay for the illustration. The auctions are run out of Goodwill's Santa Rosa store on Stony Point Road.
Reedy said if the rendering is later determined to be a fake, Goodwill will refund the money.
Goodwill stores nationwide have had a run of luck recently with donated items that turned out to be significant works of art.
In 2012, a Salvador Dali sketch found at a Goodwill shop in Tacoma, Wash., sold for $21,000, and a North Carolina woman made more than $27,000 on a painting she bought for $9.99 at Goodwill.
The amount the Redwood Empire Goodwill made on the Dixon transaction was second only to a Frank Weston Benson oil painting donated anonymously in Portland, Ore., that brought in $165,002 for the organization in 2006.
Items that go for more than $1,000 on shopgoodwill.com are now commonplace.
"There's really nothing that we have in hand now that we're like, wow, this is a big item," Reedy said Monday. "But you never know what's going to turn up at the shop tomorrow."
You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.On Twitter @deadlinederek.