Rare Audubon book sells for $11.6M

A first edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America sold for £7.3 million ($11.6 million Cdn) at auction in London Tuesday.That made it the most expensive book ever sold at auction, outstripping another first edition Birds of America that sold in 2000 for $8.8 million.Sotheby’s auction house said the illustrated book by Audubon, the renowned ornithologist, naturalist and painter who lived 1785-1851, was bought by Michael Tollemache, a London dealer.Audubon wanted to paint the birds life-sized so the book measures 90 centimetres by 60 centimetres to accommodate the prints.The first edition was once owned by Baron Frederick Hesketh, a collector of rare books who died in 1955.This copy was originally owned by paleobotanist Henry Witham. He bought it after a personal meeting with Audubon in 1826, Sotheby’s said.A Shakespeare First Folio, dating from 1623, sold for £1.5 million ($2.4 million). The folio, published after Shakespeare’s death, has the text of 36 of his plays. It was bought by U.S. dealer Stephan Loewentheil.Also sold in the same auction was a set of botanical watercolours by Belgian painter and botanist, Pierre-Joseph Redouté, also from Hesketh’s wide-ranging collection.

Other prices for works that sold:
* $155,000: Facta et dicta memorabilia, an early printed work by Valerius Maximus.
* $805,000: Lives of Romulus and Cato the Young, by Plutarch, an illuminated manuscript.
* $557,000: 40 letters related to the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots – Cbcnews