Birds of Paradise - Sharpe, R. Bowdler
Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise, and Ptilonorhynchidae, or Bower-Birds. London: H. Sotheran, 1891-98. First edition, folio, 8 parts in 2 volumes, folio ( 540 x 358mm.), 79 hand-coloured lithographic plates heightened with gum arabic by W. Hart after Hart, J. Gould, and J.G. Keulemans, printed by Mintern Brothers, photographic and engraved illustrations, green panelled morocco gilt, spine gilt, g.e., occasional very slight spotting of the text, one or two plates very slightly spotted (2)
Estimate £15,000-18,000 + fees

Note: "First and only edition of a splendid monograph." (Wood), with magnificent plates in a handsome green morocco binding. Sharpe appealed for subscribers for a monograph on 'the Avifauna of Paupasia' in the preface to Gould's Birds of New Guinea which he brought to completion in 1888, following Gould's death in 1881.
Some of the plates are printed from the stones used in the Birds of New Guinea but, as Sharpe's preface states, 'a great number of the species are here figured for the first time'. Although Elliot had published his Birds of Paradise in 1873, many species were still undiscovered, and Bowdler Sharpe's monograph, with double the number of plates, brought the tale of exploration of New Guinea up to the turn of the century, and omitted no more than two or three of the very latest finds. As such it is a much more valuable work than D.G. Elliot's. BM(NH) IV, p. 1910; Fine Bird Books p. 142; Nissen IVB 865; Whittell p. 663; Wood p. 565; Zimmer pp. 581-2 (erroneously calling for 72 text leaves in vols I and II, rather than 48 and 52 respectively). (2)

Sold for £27,500 (buyer's premium included)