Rare book is sold for £5 million

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A PRECIOUS rare book which once belonged to Worksop landowner the sixth Duke of Portland sold for more than £5 million pounds at an auction in America yesterday.

The four-volume first-edition copy of The Birds of America, by John James Audubon, had been expected to sell for between $7m and $10m US dollars at Christie’s in New York.

In the end it sold for $7,922,500 - the equivalent of £5,149,625.

The book, which featured the Duke of Portland’s own ornate bookplate, was described as ‘the finest colour-plate book ever produced’.

Snapped up by an unnamed American collector, it was one of only 119 copies to have survived.

The Duke owned Welbeck Abbey at Clumber Park near Worksop and was not only a landowner but also a Conservative politician and racehorse breeder and owner. According to records, in 1911 he employed 29 live-in servants - one of whom was a 16-year-old Rotherham-born telegraph boy named George Taylor. The Duke died in 1943.