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Birds of America: The Most Expensive Book In the World $10 Million

Alberto / June 24, 2013

“Birds of America”, a classic book which was first published in the 19th century created a world record by fetching over $ 10 million at an auction conducted by Christie’s. The final bid price helped “Birds of America” to earn the distinction of being the most expensive published book ever. The identity of the current owner of the book has not yet been disclosed. The auction house announced that the winning bid was placed by an anonymous bidder over the telephone.

The 19th century masterpiece was written by renowned French-American painter and ornithologist John James Audubon. Reportedly Audobon took over 14 years to compile the large sized book which measures over 3 feet in height and contains four volumes. It is estimated that around 200 copies of the book were produced between the years 1827 to 1838. Experts believe that only 120 copies of the masterpiece have managed to survive till now.

John’s book is considered to be an important document portraying America’s natural heritage and culture and is billed as one of the best studies on the various bird species present in the US. It contains a complete set of 435 hand painted illustrations and life sized paintings of America’s birds, all of which were compiled by Auduborn. It contains several intricate works of art along with many authentic hand painted engravings. The artist immensely loved nature and was always drawn towards its magnificent beauty which ultimately reflected in his creations where he depicted the birds he loved. The immense size of the book is accounted by the fact that John always insisted that his creation must feature life sized illustrations depicting all the known avian species present in North America. The renowned writer was a well-known naturalist and possessed an unparalleled knack of observing and painting the magnificent birds in their natural surroundings. The magnificent larger than life masterpiece dazzles everyone with its sheer beauty and has been hailed by experts for its immaculate historical and ornithological importance. However some of the birds which were painted by the artist have already gone extinct. The ornithologist also managed to discover quite a few new species.

Flamingos, cardinals, finches and trumpeter swans were some of the bird species featured on the book.

According to experts the whopping price commanded by “Birds of America” is due to a combination of its scientific value and grandeur.  Audubon’s work of art commanded a princely price tag of 115,000 pound sterling at the time of its launch in 1827 and only the very wealthy could afford to buy it.

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