July 22, 2023
Have you ever marveled at the stunning illustrations in John James Audubon’s The Birds of America? Collectors and enthusiasts alike highly prize the 1937 edition of this masterpiece because it is more affordable and accessible. In this blog post, we delve into the fascinating history and the value of the Birds of America 1937 value, examining its production, features, and market trends while offering tips on preserving and displaying your treasured copy.
-The 1937 Edition of The Birds of America is a collector’s item, produced through complex techniques and featuring high-quality reproductions.
-There are believed to be fewer than 200 complete sets, so condition, rarity, provenance, and ownership history all affect its value.
-Notable sales records provide insight into its market value, while proper storage and conservation are essential for preserving its collectible value.
The Birds of America 1937 edition is a testament to the genius of painter John James Audubon, a prolific naturalist, and painter who dedicated his life to documenting North American birds, including his famous collection of John James Audubon’s birds. This collector’s edition is regarded as one of the most precious and renowned natural history books ever created, featuring high-quality reproductions of Audubon’s original watercolor prints that captivated audiences during his time. Measuring an impressive 39.5 inches by 26.5 inches, this hefty tome showcases the beauty and intricacy of John James Audubon’s birds, providing a more cost-effective and accessible alternative to the rare and expensive first edition.
But how was this remarkable edition produced, and what role did the Johnson Reprint Corporation play in its creation?
The 1937 edition of The Birds of America was brought to life through a meticulous process that involved copperplate etching, engraving, and aquatint techniques. Each breathtaking image was printed from an etched copper plate and then hand-colored with up to eight colors using watercolor paints, all financed by a pay-as-you-go subscription initiated by Audubon himself.
The result is a collection of high-quality reproductions that capture the essence of Audubon’s original watercolors, allowing collectors and enthusiasts to appreciate the beauty and detail of his work without the need for an original copy. But who was responsible for creating this accessible edition?
Established in 1964 by book collector and former librarian Robert Johnson, the Johnson Reprint Corporation specializes in reprinting rare and valuable books, making them more accessible to a broader audience. With a reputation for producing high-quality reproductions, the Johnson Reprint Corporation was the perfect partner for the 1937 edition of The Birds of America. They ensured the faithful reproduction of Audubon’s original watercolors and included features such as a silk ribbon page marker to enhance the collector’s experience.
Now that we better understand the production process and features of the 1937 edition, let’s explore what factors contribute to its value.
The value of The Birds of America 1937 edition is influenced by factors such as condition, rarity, provenance, and ownership history. Estimated to be worth between $200 and $300, the 1937 edition is more affordable and accessible than the first edition, which can fetch millions of dollars at auction.
However, it is important to recognize that the value of any given copy can fluctuate depending on its specific attributes. Let’s take a closer look at how condition, rarity, and provenance can impact the value of the 1937 edition.
A well-preserved copy of the 1937 folio edition, featuring green cloth-covered boards, is likely to command a higher price in the market, making it a desirable collector’s item. Aspects such as a silk ribbon page marker, gilt accents, and a rare limitation leaf printed recto can all contribute to the value of a specific copy.
Rarity also plays a significant role in determining the value of the 1937 edition, particularly in sales at prestigious auction houses like Christie’s Auction House. With fewer than 200 full sets believed to have been produced, the 1937 edition remains a sought-after collector’s piece.
Provenance and ownership history can significantly impact the value of a copy of The Birds of America 1937 edition. If a notable collector or institution has owned a copy, its collectability and demand may increase, thus raising its value.
While information regarding the provenance of the 1937 edition is scarce, it is worth noting that factors such as original ownership, exhibition history, and any previous restorations can all contribute to a copy’s value and desirability.
Although the first edition of The Birds of America is far more valuable and rare than the 1937 edition, the latter still holds significant collectible value and demand due to its high-quality reproductions and historical significance. The 1937 edition’s more affordable price range and accessibility make it an attractive option for collectors who may not have the means to acquire a first edition but still wish to own a piece of Audubon’s incredible legacy.
The price range for the 1937 edition is generally lower than the first edition, with values typically falling between $200 and $300, as evidenced by auction results. In contrast, the estimated value of the first edition of The Birds of America ranges from $7.9 million to $9.65 million.
This more accessible price range makes the 1937 edition appealing for collectors who may not have the resources to acquire a first edition with its hefty price tag but still wish to own a piece of natural history art.
Despite the lower price range, the 1937 edition is still highly collectible and in demand due to its high-quality reproductions and historical significance. On the other hand, the first edition is highly collectible and valuable, with one copy fetching $9.65 million at auction in 2018 and only 120 complete sets known to exist.
This comparison highlights the relative collectability and demand of the two editions, with the 1937 edition offering a more accessible option for collectors and enthusiasts alike yet still holding significant value due to its beautiful reproductions and historical importance. On the other hand, the collector's edition is highly sought after by dedicated collectors.
Notable sales and auction records can provide insight into the market value and trends for The Birds of America 1937 edition. While information on the 1937 edition’s sales and auction records is limited, the record-breaking sales of the first edition can help us understand the value and demand for the 1937 edition.
These sales records can also help collectors determine the best time to buy or sell their copy of the 1937 edition, as they reflect the market’s interest in and appreciation for Audubon’s work.
The record-breaking sales of the first edition of The Birds of America can influence the value and demand for the 1937 edition. For example, one copy of the first edition sold for a staggering $9.65 million in 2018, demonstrating Audubon's work's immense value and collectability.
These impressive sales figures can positively affect the value and demand for the 1937 edition, as collectors and enthusiasts recognize its historical and artistic significance, even if it is not as rare or valuable as the first edition.
Market trends can help collectors determine the best time to buy or sell their copy of the 1937 edition of The Birds of America. Although specific market trends for the 1937 edition are not available, the high value of the first edition and other editions can give us insight into the potential value of the 1937 edition.
By analyzing the sales and auction records of other editions of The Birds of America, collectors can better understand the market’s interest in and appreciation for Audubon’s work, helping them make informed decisions about buying or selling their copy of the 1937 edition.
Proper storage, handling, conservation, and restoration can help preserve the value of your copy of The Birds of America 1937 edition. By taking the necessary precautions and seeking professional assistance, you can ensure that your treasured copy remains in excellent condition and retains its collectible value.
Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting your journey into the world of Audubon’s art, the following tips will help you care for and display your 1937 edition in the best possible manner.
To ensure the longevity of your Birds of America 1937 edition, it is crucial to store it in a temperature and humidity-regulated environment, away from direct sunlight and moisture. An acid-free box or folder can provide additional protection for your copy.
When handling your copy, always use clean hands and avoid eating or drinking near the book to prevent damage. Proper handling not only preserves the integrity of your copy but also maintains its value for years to come.
Conservation and restoration efforts can help preserve the integrity of your Birds of America 1937 edition and potentially increase its value. If your copy requires cleaning, repair, or stabilization, it is best to seek professional assistance from a certified conservator.
With appropriate care, conservation, and restoration, your copy of The Birds of America 1937 edition can remain a cherished part of your collection, allowing you to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Audubon’s work for generations to come.
In conclusion, John James Audubon’s The Birds of America 1937 edition is a remarkable piece of natural history art, offering a more affordable and accessible alternative to the rare and valuable first edition. By understanding the factors that influence its value, such as condition, rarity, provenance, and ownership history, collectors and enthusiasts can better appreciate the significance of this edition and make informed decisions when buying or selling their copy.
By preserving and displaying your copy with care, you can ensure that Audubon’s legacy and the beauty of his work continue to inspire and captivate future generations. Happy collecting!
Birds of America’s value is attributed to its every page being hand-colored and depicting birds, some of which are now extinct. This makes it a rare and irreplaceable piece of art.
John James Audubon printed 200 sets of Birds of America, with 120 known to survive today.
The Double Elephant Folio Birds of America is a set of copperplate etchings derived from Audubon’s original paintings printed on the most extensive available paper size (38 x 26 inches) to accommodate the largest American birds.
This set of prints is considered one of the world's most important works of art and is highly sought after by collectors. It is also a testament to Audubon’s dedication to studying birds and his skill as an artist.
The 1937 edition of The Birds of America is renowned for accurately reproducing John James Audubon’s watercolor prints, providing an affordable and accessible option for collectors and enthusiasts alike.
It is a highly sought-after item, with copies selling for thousands of dollars. It is a testament to Audubon’s skill as an artist and naturalist and a reminder of the beauty of nature.
The 1937 edition of the book is significantly more affordable than the first edition, with values ranging between $200 and $300, while the first edition can fetch millions of dollars at auction.
1. "Audubon's Birds of America: The Audubon Society Baby Elephant Folio" by Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson This comprehensive book provides an in-depth analysis of Audubon's masterpiece, adding rich context to the artwork and scientific details of "The Birds of America." It's an excellent resource for those interested in delving deeper into the world of Audubon's birds.
2. "Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of The Birds of America" by William Souder
This well-researched biography offers a fascinating insight into Audubon's adventurous life and the creation of his seminal work, "The Birds of America." It is available on Amazon.
3. "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds" by John Bull and John Farrand Jr. A modern guide to North American birds, this book is a great companion for understanding the subjects of Audubon's work in their contemporary context.
1. Audubon Society The Audubon Society's official website is an extensive resource for information about birds, their habitats, and conservation efforts. It also offers details about Audubon's life and work.
2. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds This website provides a vast database of North American bird species, which complements the species depicted in "The Birds of America." It offers bird identification tools, sounds, and much more.
This online exhibition by the American Museum of Natural History showcases Audubon's work from "The Birds of America". Visitors can explore the stunning illustrations and learn about Audubon's work's historical context and significance.
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