It is now estimated $ 8M for sale in the same auction room on June 14 as lot 1, as a charity to benefit the conservation of the natural environment.
I narrated it as follows in 2012 :
The complete version of Audubon's The Birds of America, published in London, includes 435 plates engraved from 1827 to 1838, hand-colored from the watercolors of the author and bound in four volumes. Made in a quite large 'double elephant' folio format 98 x 65 cm, it is the masterpiece of illustrated books. All birds were carefully illustrated in life size.
The introduction at auction of a full version in good condition is an event. Two of these prestigious copies came from original deliveries by subscription. They were respectively sold for $ 8.8 million including premium at Christie's on March 10, 2000 and for £ 7.3 million including premium by Sotheby's on December 7, 2010.
At the end of the operation, Audubon's list included 161 subscribers. Its printers, Lizars and Havell, had planned it slightly wider, and it is likely that a few remaining copies have been assembled in volumes in 1838 for new customers while retaining the chronological order of publication.
The copy from the library of the Dukes of Portland is probably one of those assembled without subscription, and it remained in exceptionally fine condition. It may be considered like an original edition by the bibliophiles as most of the first plates are in first state, as evidenced by watermarks and through the variants in the legends. The five octavo volumes of texts are included in the lot.
SOLD for $ 9.7M including premium