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Birds of America sells for GBP 7.3m

8th December 2010

A rare copy of the 'world's most expensive book' has been sold at auction - and commanded a price of more than GBP 7 million.

John James Audubon's Birds of America went under the hammer at Sotheby's in London yesterday (December 7th) and was bought for GBP 7,321,250 by art dealer Michael Tollemache, who described it as being 'priceless'.

Estimates before the auction gave the title a value of between GBP 4 and 6 million.

The new price beats the previous record of GBP 5.7 million for a book sold at auction - which was set by another copy of Birds of America a decade ago.

Only 119 copies of Birds of America, which contains around 1,000 illustrations and took the author 12 years to complete, are known to exist and the majority of these are held by libraries and museums.

A rare copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio was also sold in the auction, which offered works from the collection of Lord Hesketh, and fetched a price of GBP 1,497,250.

Other items sold from the collection included copies of Lives of Romulus and Cato the Younger by Plutarch and Christianus of Stavelot's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, as well as a collection of letters written to Sir Ralph Sadler by Mary, Queen of Scots.
 

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