Antique bird book

Antique bird book DEFAULT

The World&#;s Most Expensive Bird Books

Earlier this year, when the online book marketplace AbeBooks released a list of the most expensive books it sold in , topping the list was an 18th century Italian tome with a long-winded title: Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo e adornata di figure intagliate in rame e miniate al naturale. Ornithologia methodice digesta atque iconibus aeneis ad vivum illuminatis. Or, as it's known in English: A Natural History of Birds. The book, which was written by Saverio Manetti and illustrated by Violante Vanni and Lorenzo Lorenzi, sold for $,, setting a world record for the priciest online book sale. Spending nearly $K on a book about birds (or anything, really) may strike some people as excessive, but as it turns out rare ornithological texts are consistently some of the most expensive books around. Here are a few of the priciest ones:

Baltimore Orioles. Illustration: John James Audubon

John James Audubon’s Birds of America

Often cited as “the most expensive book of all time,” there are still known intact copies of John James Audubon’sThe Birds of America (which was published between and ). While there are a handful of books in the world that may be worth more, until Birds of America held the record for the most money paid at auction for any single printed work: £7,,, or about $ million. It is estimated that, when adjusted for inflation, five of the 10 most expensive books ever sold were copies of Birds of America. Only about a dozen are owned privately; the rest are in the hands of institutions, many of which display their copies for the public benefit, like the one at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. Birds of America is also very likely the world’s most expensive wall covering. In , Lady Isabella Hertford cut up her copy of the mammoth ” by ” handmade book and used it to wallpaper her drawing room.

A Short-eared Owl, from Birds of Europe, Tomo 1. Illustration: John Gould

John Gould’s (Limited) Works

John Gould is sometimes known as “Britain’s Audubon,” but unlike his American counterpart Gould is infamous for not having actually written or illustrated a number of works that bore his name, instead leaving the latter task to more talented artists (including his wife, Elizabeth). Even so, a single folio credited to Gould can easily go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and an “exceptional and pristine” folio set of first editions of his bird books, published between and , is currently for sale for $2,, at Shapero Books in London. 

Blue and Yellow Maccaw [sic], from Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots. Illustration: Edward Lear

The Parrot Chronicles

One of the people who illustrated for Gould was Edward Lear.  Despite receiving no credit for his work in Gould’s books, Lear is renowned on his own merits.  His masterpiece Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots, which he painted as a teenager, typically sells at auction—even in so-so condition—for well over $, Fewer than a hundred copies are known to exist.

However, Lear’s work is beaten, price-wise, by a similar work from the other side of the English Channel. Pre-dating Lear by about 30 years, Francois Levaillant’s work Histoire naturelle des perroquets (), or Natural History of Parrots, sold for $, back in

Some Options for the Rest of Us

Reluctant to shell out a few years worth of college tuition for a single book? On the more reasonably-priced side of rare collectibles, an eagle-eyed investor can usually snag a copy of Ootheca wolleyana: an illustrated catalogue of the collection of birds' eggs formed by the late John Wolley () at auction for around $2, For about half that amount (depending on condition), one could purchase The Ornithology of the Straits of Gibraltar () by Lieut-Col. Leonard Howard Lloyd Irby.

And for those with a little less to spend, a pristine first-edition dust cover copy of the Ladybird classic Cocky the Lazy Rooster, written by Noel Barr and charmingly illustrated by Percy Bell Hickling, can usually be had for less than $ It may never be worth $10 million, but you should probably refrain from using it to wallpaper your living room anyway.


Rare Birds and Ornithology Books Rare & Antiquarian Books

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There are many Biblio customers who love birds and ornithology, and there is a great selection of rare books about birds and ornithology in the Biblio Rare Book Room. From rare and antique books about birds of prey to books on the tiny hummingbirds, Biblio booksellers have many antique and rare books to choose from. There are many rare books on zoology and ornithology at Biblio, and many of them can be found below in the Biblio Rare Book Room.

A History of British Birds

A History of British Birds by F O Morris (Reverend)

LONDON: George Bell & Sons, A nice set of the second edition of Morris's History of British Birds. In 6 volumes with original decorative cloth bindings and hand coloured plates as called for. The bindings are all clean with bright gilt pi…

From E C Books


Birds Over America

Birds Over America by Peterson, Roger Tory

New York: Dodd Mead, An uncommon book, and especially so SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY AUTHOR on half-title page - "To David and Elizabeth Frey with my best regards Roger T. Peterson". Lacking the fragile glassine dust jacket, Very Good Plus, sp…

From Dale Steffey Books


A Monograph of the Pittidae, or, Family of Ant Thrushes

A Monograph of the Pittidae, or, Family of Ant Thrushes by ELLIOT, Daniel Giraud ()

New York: D.Appleton & Co, Folio. (21 7/16 x 13 5/8 inches). 1p. dedication to Philip Lutley Sclater, 1p. list of subscribers. 31 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates, heightened with gum arabic, after Elliot (24), Paul Louis Oudart (4), E. Maube…

From Donald Heald Rare Books


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Anthony Hillman, born in Atlantic City,New Jersey in was able to take advantage of his seashore location to study the local wildlife, most particularly birds. The ocean,bay, and marshes were familiar haunts as he grew up with a talent for drawing and painting. He started to carve decoys for gunning use while in his twenties,and makes the traditional hollow-bodied Barnegat style floating decoy he used for many years. Trained as a commercial illustrator, he co-authored and illustrated 3 pattern books with 3rd generation carver Harry V. Shourds II. In the ensuing years Mr. Hillman authored 30 more titles of his own,including several painting books,and self published "Fish Painting- A Guide for Carvers and Artists" available directly from the author.

Shorebirds are his favorite subjects,and apparently his customers' favorites as well. Anthony has sold many full size and miniature waterfowl subjects, shipping his carvings all over the United States and several countries.

Besides birds,fish are another of his carving subjects,with several species of fresh and salt-water varieties carved as decoratives or as functioning fish decoys. Mr. Hillman continues to actively produce his carvings from his home in Cape May Court House, NJ. He designs his own carving patterns, and thousands of carvers have learned the craft from his books.

Episode #203 DSLR v APSC and Alan Hewitt’s wildlife change of life pt1.


Bird book antique


Episode #203 DSLR v APSC and Alan Hewitt’s wildlife change of life pt1.


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