Auctions | May 31, 2018

Soaring Success for Wassenaar Zoo Library Sale at Bonhams

blobid3_1527759979782.pngLondon--The Wassenaar Zoo: a Dutch Private Library sale at Bonhams in London on 30 May 2018 realised £1,723,075 with 227 of the 234 lots sold.

Highlights of the sale included:

  • A world record of £102,500 for a first edition of the five volume Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands by John Gould and Richard Sharpe.  This was Gould final work completed after his death in 1881 by Sharpe and published between 1875-1888.  
  • A first edition of the seven-volume Birds of Australia (1840-1869), by John Gould. The result of his own tour of the continent during which he named 300 new species of birds, the edition sold for £187,500 having been estimated at £100,000-150,000.
  • llustrations of the Family of Psittacidae or Parrots by Edward Lear which made £90,000 against its pre-sale estimate of £40,000-60,000.
  • Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis (1806) by the French explorer, zoological collector, and noted ornithologist François Levaillant. Estimated at £20,000-30,000, it sold for £65,000.

Bonhams Head of Fine Books and Manuscripts, Matthew Haley said: “This was a spectacular result for what was one of the finest collections of historical ornithological books still in private hands. I was not surprised that collectors took full advantage of this rare opportunity to acquire some of the most eagerly sought after examples of this beautiful genre.”    

To read more about the collection, click here to read Simon Barnes’ article in Bonhams magazine.

Image: Red and Yellow Macaw from Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae or Parrots by Edward Lear. Sold for £90,000