A first edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America has just been auctioned at Sotheby’s for £7,000,000. Lord Hesketh was selling off some of his library (presumably he hasn’t the room since he sold his family seat, Easton Neston, five years ago).
The book, in four volumes in contemporary diced Russia gilt, comes with a little cabinet to keep them in, and was expected to go for £4-6 million. There are only 119 known complete copies, and nearly all of them are owned by institutions.
The nearest I have been to a copy was in Temple Newsam in Leeds, where it’s possible to see where Lady Hertford had the one volume she owned cut up so she could have the pretty birds pasted on to her Chinese wallpaper, as described in my blog.