Botanical Pictures Consignment
That intriguing old botanical picture gathering dust in your closet or the framed Audubon bird engraving that you inherited might be worth far more than you imagine. It could be an important – and valuable – piece of natural history. When you are unsure of the value of your rare bird engraving or hand-coloured flower illustration, Sotheby's offers an easy, confidential way to find out, “How much is my antique botanical art worth?”
Sotheby’s regularly presents some of the most historically significant botanical and natural artwork that depicts birds, animals, insects, plants, flowers, mushrooms and other flora and fauna. Auctions take place throughout the year in London, New York and Paris, as well as online. If you are wondering the value of your ornithological, entomological or botanical engravings, submit images and information about your original drawing or engraving through our easy-to-use online form, for a free estimate. Our team of specialists will review your submission and issue preliminary estimates for items that can be included in our sales.
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Submit photos and information about your antique botanical or bird engraving and begin your complimentary estimate request.
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Botanical Art Consigned with Sotheby's
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Frequently Asked Questions
- Why are antique botanical and entomological engravings valuable?Rare collections, such as Trew’s Hortus Nitidissimis, feature plates with finely applied gouache that makes the images appear opaque as watercolour paintings, rather than as engraved or etched plates. This is especially the case for the tulips depicted in Hortus Nitidissimis, which appear like the great studies on vellum that were executed by botanical artists during the golden age of tulipomania in the 17th century. The highly stylized plates represent a break of the scientific accuracy of the time. The artists ignored anatomical detail and concentrated on representing the most beautiful flowering plants at the height of their fluorescent luxury.
- What types of Science and Natural History works are in demand?Sotheby’s recent sales offered important works of natural history, colour-plate books, topographical photographs and maps. Highlights included a beautifully stunning hand-coloured copy of Jacquin’s botanical work Plantarum rariorum; a fine hand-coloured engraving of a “Bird of Washington” by John James Audubon; a collection of illustrations of ducks with 98 original watercolours by Edward Lear and other artists; a splendid hand-coloured copy of John Gould and Richard Sharpe’s “Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Humming Birds”; and a rare complete copy of the German naturalist Blasius Merrem’s ornithological work “Beyträge zur besondern Geschichte der Vögel.”
- How does Sotheby's determine the value of my engraving?Sotheby's specialists have decades of experience in evaluating antique engravings by celebrated artists and botanists. Even without a signature, Sotheby's specialists can sometimes attribute antique illustrations to renowned artists. Simply submit clear photographs of the front and back of your drawing, print, illustration or engraving and our specialists will carefully review the item and determine its value. Specialists consider the age, rarity, history of ownership, condition, maker and other factors.
- Can I sell my antique botanical print online if I consign with Sotheby's?Yes, indeed. Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts department invites participation in our online timed auctions. Past online selections have included hand-coloured flower, bird and insect illustrations from distinguished private collections. When you submit your Science and Natural History art for review by our specialists, they will consider it for sale in both online and live auctions.
Sotheby’s is your best resource to buy, consign or sell a rare botanical illustration, old botanical engraving, limited-edition flower or bird print, hand-coloured engraving, important entomological and botanical plates, antique botanical, old flower print, vintage bird print, atlas of flowers, wood block flower print, album pages with gilt borders, gilt-panelled spines, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, folding plates, a line engraving, mezzotint engraving, aquatint engraving, stipple engraving or etching on vellum, linen or paper.