Birds of Europe book sells for $80,500 at New York auction

A copy of the 19th century work The Birds of Europe by John Gould has sold for $80,500 at a rare books auction in New York.

Produced in the 1830s, and comprising five volumes, the work features numerous full-colour illustrated plates with several drawn by the celebrated artist and poet Edward Lear.

Described as "a wonderful confluence of artistry, technique and production", the books surpassed their pre-sale estimate of $75,000 by 7.3% at the April 11 auction.

Birds of Europe
Edward Lear produced images for Birds of Europe


As we anticipated, a rare copy of Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War also beat its estimate, more than doubling its $90,000 valuation with a $194,500 showing to become the auction's top seller.

The two-volume work is described as "the most celebrated, memorable and graphic collection of civil war photographs". It includes 100 photographic prints along with lithographed frames and captions.

The result is further confirmation of the investment potential of American civil war memorabilia - Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently able to offer this unique Abraham Lincoln artefact.

The sale also featured an advance proof copy of the 1974 Stephen King novel Carrie, which sold for $11,250, comfortably above its $10,000 valuation.

The first of King's novels to be published, the proof copy was gifted to his close friend Phil "Flip" Thompson and is the first book King ever signed.

It bears the inscription: "For Flip and Karen - two of the best there are - and I mean that - by the way, this is the first book I've signed in my life - it's kind of fun. All the best, no matter what. Stephen King February 4, 1974."

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