Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bexley, Ohio. Sotheby's auction to benefit International Crane Foundation covered by WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio

In its weekly auction market report, WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM Local Power Radio gave attention to the charity auction sale of The Brooks McCormick Collection of Ornithology. WCRX-LP is the radio service of Bexley Public Radio Foundation.

The auction sale will be conducted on Friday afternoon October 5, 2007 at Sotheby’s auction rooms at 1334 York Avenue and 72nd Street, New York City. Bidding at this charity event will begin at 2:00 p.m.

The WCRX-LP coverage of the sale included descriptions from the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. Items to be sold on October 5 are books and prints that are important parts of the history of ornithology. Core items of John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, Fran├žois Levaillant, F. N. Martinet, Charles Darwin and others will be presented for sale.

The late Chicago businessman and philanthropist, Brooks McCormick assembled the collection. McCormick was a strongly committed conservationist.

The proceeds from the Sotheby’s sale will benefit the International Crane Foundation. During his life, McCormick was a supporter of the International Crane Foundation.

Highlights from the collection will be on view at Sotheby’s Chicago auction rooms at 188 East Walton Place on September 20 and 21, 2007.

The collection will also be on show to the public in New York from September 29 to October 4, 2007. The New York show is at Sotheby’s location at 1334 York Avenue and 72nd Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Ninety nine lots will be offered at the October 5 sale.

The lots included Mark Catesby's “Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands,” London, 1731-1743. The pre-sale estimate for Cateby’s work is $400, 000 to $600,000.

Brooks McCormick (1917-2006) was the grand-nephew of Cyrus McCormick (1809–1884), the inventor of the first commercially successful reaper and founder of the International Harvester Company. Brooks was the last member of the McCormick family to be active in International Harvester.

In 1972, Brooks McCormick founded The Conservation Foundation, which has preserved more than a thousand acres in the counties surrounding Chicago.

McCormick also arranged that after his death, his 620-acre St. James Farm near Warrenville would be sold to the Forest Preserve, ensuring that it would remain open space.

In the 1980s, McCormick, who with his late wife Hope Baldwin McCormick had long supported the Art Institute of Chicago and many other Chicago cultural institutions, began to collect books and prints about the history of ornithology.

During this period, McCormick began to support the International Crane Foundation, which was founded in 1973 by George Archibald and Ron Sauey in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Beside the Marc Catesby's “Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands,” other important works offered at the charity auction are nearly ninety hand-colored aquatints from John James Audubon’s monumental double-elephant folio “The Birds of America” (1827–38). Such recognizable classics as Hooping Crane (Plate CCLXI) and Purple Heron (Plate CCLVI) will be offered at the Sotheby’s sale on October 5.

A set of Fran├žois Levaillant’s studies of exotic birds, “Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des rolliers” (1801–06) and “Histoire naturelle des Promerops et des Guepiers” (1807) will be sold to benefit the International Crane Foundation. Pre-sale estimates for these as a single lot are $150,000 to $250,000. Another French work being offered for auction sale the auction is Comte de Buffon’s encyclopedic “Histoire naturelle des oiseaux” (1770–86). This book includes 973 fine hand-colored etched plates by F. N. Martinet.

Another notable item for sale from the McCormick collection is a copy of the first edition of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Specie” (1859). The price estimate for this work is $60,000 to $80,000. The author makes frequent references to birds in support of his thesis about evolution.

The International Crane Foundation has worldwide activities to conserve cranes and the wetland and grassland ecosystems on which they depend. The foundation has programs in endangered species management, wetland ecology and habitat restoration. It is also active in creating areas of international cooperation for protecting cranes and their habitats.

The regular auction market coverage on WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio will report on prices realized at this auction as soon as the prices are available.

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