An original edition of “Birds of America” made from paintings by American naturalist John James Audubon was stolen from the Russian National Library, officials said Friday.
Library director Vladimir Zaitsev said the theft of the four-volume edition was discovered Thursday. He said it was impossible to estimate its value, although one published report put it at $1 million.
The book was stolen from a department to which only library staff have access, Zaitsev said.
Audubon published “Birds of America” in London from 1827-39. The 87-part work contains 435 life-sized, hand-colored engravings made from the watercolors he painted of American birds in their natural surroundings.