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This picture provided by Christie’s showing a Common American Swan is from a rare first edition set of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America.” Considered a masterpiece of ornithology art, the four-volume set contains more than 400 engraved hand-colored plates of all the North American species known to Audubon in the early 19th century. The volumes stand 3 ½-feet high because of Audubon’s desire to depict the birds in their actual size and natural habitat. Christie’s said the set is expected to sell for $7 million to $10 million at it's Jan. 20 auction. (AP Photo/Christie's)

Audubon's 'Birds of America' auctions for $7.9M

A rare first edition of John James Audubon's illustrated "The Birds of America" depicting more than 400 life-size North American species in four monumental volumes was purchased at auction Jan. 20, 2012, for $7.9 million.