Books can make their authors — or owners — rich. In this case, it’s a collection of 4 books: a first-edition set of John James Audubon’s Birds of America (1827-1838). Estimated sale price for the four-volume set? US $7 million to US $10 million. The books contain in total 435 hand-coloured engravings. There are 120 sets still in existence and the last one sold for a record US $11.5 million at a Sotheby’s London auction in 2010. What makes this collection rare is that there are only 13 copies in private hands, and the other 107 copies are owned by institutions (libraries, universities and museums).
The four-volume set of folios measures almost a metre in height and depicts life-size illustrations of all the known species of North American birds from the early 19th century. Six of those species have since become extinct, including the passenger pigeon, Labrador duck and Carolina parakeet. Four, including the California condor, are endangered.
Books, hand-drwan books, photo books… who knows? Yours could be worth millions later.