JOHN James Audubon’s Birds Of America has become the most expensive book in the world, after being bought at auction for £7.3million.
The 19th century illustrated book surpassed pre-sale estimates, with the book originally expected to fetch between £4million and £6million.
The masterpiece contains 435 hand-coloured illustrations, and fears had been expressed the book would be torn apart so the pictures could be sold separately. Thankfully this did not happen, and the book was snapped up by London dealer Michael Tollemache on behalf of an anonymous collector for £7,321,250.
Birds Of America measures more than 3ft by 2ft (90cm by 60cm) because ornithologist Audubon wanted to paint the birds life size.
The book is valuable for its significance to the study of natural history as well as its visual brilliance. Birds Of America wasn’t the only book fetching a high price at the Sotheby’s auction. –Metro