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Christie's, Associated Press
This picture provided by Christie’s showing a Common American Swan is from a rare first edition set of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America.” Considered a masterpiece of ornithology art, the four-volume set contains more than 400 engraved hand-colored plates of all the North American species known to Audubon in the early 19th century. The volumes stand 3 ½-feet high because of Audubon’s desire to depict the birds in their actual size and natural habitat. Christie’s said the set is expected to sell for $7 million to $10 million at it's Jan. 20 auction.

NEW YORK — A rare first edition set of John James Audubon's sumptuously illustrated "The Birds of America" will be sold at auction in New York.

Christie's said Wednesday the four-volume set has a pre-sale estimate of $7 million to $10 million. The auction is Jan. 20.

The set contains more than 400 hand-colored plates of all the North American species known to Audubon in the early 19th century. It is considered a masterpiece of ornithology art.

The volumes stand 3½ feet high because Audubon wanted to depict the birds in their actual size and habitat.

It will be on view at Christie's Rockefeller Center galleries Jan. 14-19.

The books will be sold together with a complete first edition set of Audubon's 5-volume "Ornithological Biography" in matching red Morocco leather.

Online: www.christies.com