John James Audubon print will highlight Chicago auction at $120,000

A print from James John Audubon's Birds of America will provide the biggest draw at an upcoming Fine Books & Manuscripts auction in Chicago.

John James Audubon Birds of America The Great Blue Heron
The proof features colour alterations not present in the published work

The work is Audubon's representation of the Great Blue Heron. It is a working proof that differs from the published edition, and lacks the engraved lettering and plate numbers of the latter. Boasting hand colouring, the proof is printed on the reverse of an uncoloured impression of the Rusty Grackle piece, also included in Birds of America.

The proof displays alterations to the colouring of the final pallette, specifically to the body, which is more blue than grey. Also altered are the bird's feathers, which are highlighted in green, and the thigh and bend of the wing, which is russet rather than orange.

A full sheet print with several repairs in the edges and a small filled hole in the blank lower right, it is expected to bring $80,000-120,000 on August 8. Also featuring will be a series of lesser prints from Audubon's ground-breaking book, with estimates ranging from $100 to $6,000.

In certain formats, John James Audubon's Birds of America is considered one of the world's most valuable books at auction. In 2010, a rare first edition of the monumental work sold for $10.3m at Christie's.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a brilliant range of investment-grade books and manuscripts available. We are currently offering a superb signed copy of Karsh: A Fifty Year Retrospective, which features a magnificent selection of Yousef Karsh's most iconic photographs.

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