Prints: Audubon's Octavo Birds
Original Parts (1839-1844)
Original octavo parts (also called numbers or fascicles) are rare since the great majority of subscribers bound the parts into books. Each octavo part included five plates, text, and front and back covers (called wrappers). In the vast majority of cases, the wrappers were discarded, although occasionally one may encounter a set that has some or all of the wrappers bound in. As fragile as they are and as prone to being broken up for plates, it is remarkable that some of the parts survived in the original "booklet" form and can still be found today in that form. I offer a few of these special items below.
Each part includes a certificate of authenticity (COA) that gives background on the octavo edition and the contents of the part. Sizes are larger than typical print sizes because the parts were never bound or trimmed. The plates and text pages measure around 11 inches x 7 inches. All parts include the wrappers, five hand-colored bird plates, the original text pages describing the birds, and depending on the part may include additional material (e.g., author's introductory remarks, title page and table of contents). Because text was printed on two sides of the page, occasionally text pages that seem as if they "belong" in the part will instead be found in the preceding or following part. All parts are complete as issued.
Click any photo below for a larger photograph. The plates are generally clean with brilliant colors and some degree of creasing. Some tissue guards are spotty but text in general is reasonably clean.
No. 14. Plates 66 to 70 FLYCATCHERS.
The part has dark blue covers. There is a split in the backstrip.
All pages are loose, held together mostly by one or two threads. Front cover with small corner loss at top front and small
creased corner area at bottom front. This part starts
with Plate 66 as the first page, so the text for that plate is not
included (that text was apparently included in No. 13). Because Plate 70 is
the last plate of Volume 1, this booklet includes some nice extra
pages for Volume I as these were distributed at the time the volume was
completed. These pages include the Volume I title page, the Volume I table
of contents, and the subscribers list to date. $1250.
PL 66 Least Pewee Flycatcher
PL 67 Small-headed Flycatcher
PL 68 American Redstart
PL 69 Townsend's Ptilogonys
PL 70 Blue-grey Flycatcher
No. 17. Plates 81 to 85 WOOD WARBLERS
No. 17 has beige covers. The bottom edge of the front cover shows some tiny losses. There is a little water staining on the front and back cover adjacent to the binding, but it does not affect contents. There is a crease at bottom right on top corner and small loss in front cover at top left along the binding. There is a wrinkle that seems to run through all the pages. A two-inch slit at the bottom of the backstrip leaves the pages loose at the bottom only. Prints are very clean, first page of the booklet is Plate 81 -- no text pages for that plate included (they can be found in No. 16). There is complete text for Plates 82 through 84 and the first page of Plate 85. $1500
PL 81Chestnut-sided Wood Warbler
PL 82 Pine-creeping Wood-Warbler
PL 83 Hemlock Warbler
PL 84 Black-throated Green Wood Warbler
PL 85 Cape May Wood-Warbler
No. 54. Plates 266 to 270 WOODPECKERS
No. 54 has light blue covers and is in generally very good to excellent condition with clean and bright prints. Minor wear on covers, slight wear on tissue guards. $2500
PL 266 Red-breasted Woodpecker
PL 267 Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
PL 268 Arctic three-toed Woodpecker
PL 269 Banded three-toed Woodpecker
PL 270 Red-bellied Woodpecker
No. 96. Plates 476 to 480 - DIVERS (LOONS) AND GREBES
This part has dark blue covers. There is a name (perhaps the subscriber's) in neat but faint penciled script on the top of the front cover. Overall very good condition with minor creasing of the covers and wear on the backstrip. Generally clean with some foxing on some text pages and some tissue guards. All plates clean except Plate 476 with two small unobtrusive fox spots. Color excellent on all plates. The part begins with brief remarks about the genus (Divers), followed by the three Diver plates (loons) with complete text for each plate. This is followed by brief remarks about Grebes, followed by the Crested Grebe with complete text, and the Red-necked Grebe with the first page of text. (Remainder of this text is in Part 97.) $2000.
PL 476 Great North Diver - Loon
PL 477 Black-throated Diver
PL 478 Red-throated Diver
PL 479 Crested Grebe
PL 480 Red-necked Grebe.