New York: An anonymous buyer snapped the first edition of John James Audubon's (1785-1851) celebrated book The Birds of America for US$9.65 million at Christie's auction in New York on Thursday.
Often hailed as the most beautiful book ever printed, the 19th century work features more than 400 hand-coloured illustrations of 1,037 life-size birds, reported Reuters. The auctioned copy was one of just 13 complete sets thought to be remaining in private hands.
The price was the second-highest sum paid for the book at auction. Another of the complete sets went for US$10.27 million in 2010, the report said.
The Birds of America was first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838 and represented the author's years-long mission to find and paint all the known species of birds in North America.
The auctioned book was owned by US businessman Carl W. Knobloch Jnr, who died in 2016. Proceeds from the sale will benefit conservation of plants, animals and natural habitats through the work of the Knobloch Family Foundation, Reuters reported.