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A second copy of the first edition of John James Audubon’s 19th-century masterpiece, Birds of America, was recently auctioned off for $10m at Christie’s auction house in the United States. The sale value fell short just a few thousands compared to the $10.27 million price the first buyer of the book paid in 2010.

Birds of America was first published in a series between 1827 and 1838, and remains one of the bestselling ornithological books. Audubon worked on the book for three years during which he travelled throughout the American wilderness, mainly central and eastern US, and painted more than 500 of the 700 North American species. He observed, catalogued and painted the birds in their natural habitat.

The book contains more than 400 hand-coloured illustrations of around 1,037 bird species. It is one of 13 full collections believed to be still in possession of a number of individuals. The first copy sold was owned by American businessman Carl W. Knobloch Jr., who died in 2016.