RESULTS: John James Audubon's The Birds of America


New York



New York — On 20 January 2012, Christie's sold John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, one of the most sought-after books of ornithological art ever created, for $7,922,500/£5,149,625/€6,100,325 to a private American collector.  The Duke of Portland set, 435 lushly hand-colored engravings in a four-volume set of double-elephant folios over 3 feet in height, was acquired by William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, the fourth Duke of Portland (1768-1854), at some point after 1838, and has been maintained in excellent condition, with fresh, vibrant colors.


Francis Wahlgren, Christie's International Head of Books & Manuscripts, comments: “Audubon’s masterpiece, The Birds of America, sold for an impressive $7.9 million, the third highest price for a printed book at auction.  This strong result for Audubon’s masterpiece confirms its iconic status and now holds the top three auction records for printed books.  Christie's has sold four out of the five most valuable printed books ever sold at auction.”

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in first half of 2017 that totalled £2.35 billion / $3 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.