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World's most expensive book set for auction

9th September 2010

The world's most expensive book is to go under the hammer later this year, auction house Sotheby's has revealed.

A copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America from the estate of the late Lord Hesketh, who died 55 years ago, will be put up for auction on December 7th, the Guardian reports.

When it was last sold at auction ten years ago, the book attracted a price of USD 8.8 million (GBP 5.7 million).

Just 119 complete copies of Birds of America are thought to exist, with 108 of these held by universities, libraries and museums.

Other items to be sold from Lord Hesketh's collection include a copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio and a series of letters written by Elizabeth I to the jailor of Mary Queen of Scots.

David Goldthorpe, a senior specialist in Sotheby's books and manuscripts department, told the newspaper: 'To have all these items in one sale is remarkable; it's certainly never happened in my time, 15 years, and people who've been here longer can't recall it.'

On October 28th, Sotheby's will start a series of auctions to sell off the collection of an anonymous bibliophile, with rare first editions of James Joyce's Ulysses, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein included in the lots.
 

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