All of us who love birds have heard the name “Audubon” from the “Audubon Society” but do we know about his book “Birds of America” and its worth?
A gilt bound subscriber’s copy of American naturalist John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” - widely regarded as one of the greatest illustrated books ever produced - was sold at auction by Sotheby’s of London last year. The book - in the 'double elephant folio' 3 feet x 2 feet "It is one of the most visually stunning books in the history of print: The scale of the images, the originality of each composition, the brilliance of the hand coloring."
The Birds of America plates were printed in black and white and hand-colored afterwards, and made from engravings of Audubon's watercolors. The book contains 435 of Audubon’s hand-colored and life-size ornithological illustrations and is one of less than 200 original copies – only 119 copies are accounted for - produced by Audubon between 1827 and 1838.
It was sold to an anonymous collector bidding by telephone for $11.5 million, and broke the world record for a single book.
John James Audubon
One such copy is held by the San Diego Natural History Museum in California.
For a slideshow of some of the books Illustrations of birds -
click on the link below