Millions for painted birds

Auction>> Book • USA

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

imageAround 1820 a certain John James Audubon decided to paint every bird in North America.

His efforts resulted in a book called The Birds of America, more than 3 feet by 2 feet in size. On December 7, a copy of the book was auctioned at Sotheby’s. It was bought by an anonymous collector for US $10 million making it the most expensive book ever sold.

It is an invaluable source of US natural history, containing 435 hand-coloured illustrations including images of six birds which are now extinct.

“It’s also one of the most visually stunning books in the history of print,” said Heather O’Donnell, a specialist with Bauman Rare Books in New York.

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