Precious book to be sold at auction

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A RARE 170-year-old book once owned by a wealthy Worksop landowner is expected to sell for up to £6 million at Christie’s in New York tomorrow.

The copy of The Birds Of America by John James Audubon belonged to the sixth Duke of Portland. It is in four volumes known as the Duke of Portland’s Set and features his own bookplate. The tome has been given a pre-sale estimate of seven to 10 million US dollars - the equivalent of £4.5m to £6.5m.

It is one of only 119 copies of the 19th century book to have survived, and only 11 are held in private collections.

The book, published between 1827 and 1838, contains 435 hand-coloured, etched and aquatint prints, all of American birds - six of which are now extinct. It has been described as ‘the finest colour-plate book ever produced’.

The Duke of Portland lived from 1857 to 1943, and owned Welbeck Abbey near Clumber Park. He was a landowner, Tory politician and racehorse breeder and owner. Two of his horses won the Derby, in 1888 and 1889.