Old Noah knew who his friends were and when he released the doves they spotted dry land and didn't return to the ark. Since that time the bird has been man's friend throughout our history. But how can this make the members of the 31 Club money?
To start let's consider jewelry. There is perhaps no subject more visible than birds in the jewelry market. Gold and silver pins of birds with eyes and feathers of precious stone adorn the most fashionable ladies' coats and blouses today. How often do you see a necklace with a beautiful hummingbird or a parrot being featured? These exquisite items can cost from a few hundred to over a million dollars and are designed by the leading design studios in the world. I had a friend that found a 24 karat gold pin with real diamonds, rubies and sapphires in a box lot of costume jewelry, so it still can happen and maybe it will to you.
But what other bird items bring good money, I hear you asking? How about painting and prints of birds? One of the greatest print makers in history was John W. Audubon. The thing to remember about his prints is that there were just two original sizes. First the elephant portfolio which were 26 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches and then the book page size 11 by 7 inches. Later additions can come in all sizes but they have very little value. If a print is trimmed from the original size it takes a tremendous amount of its value away. But what could an Audubon print be worth? Hold your hat because they range from a few hundred to over hundred thousand dollars. The Wild Turkey used to be the most valuable but I think today it might have been replaced by the Blue Huron.
Paintings are another thing all together. These paintings of birds are usually valued by the reputation of the artist. Remember the story I shared with you about the young man I know that bought a painting from a lady for $25 because he felt sorry for her and did nothing with it for many years. One day he decided to try his hand at cleaning it and discovered that it may have value, so he sent it to Christies and it proved to be by Martin Heade and sold for over $675,000. Sporting paintings of Quail, Pheasants and Ducks also bring unexpected rewards in these markets.
These two areas of collecting bird items barely scratch the surface, however. There are French and German music boxes that feature little birds with real feathers that I have seen bring $5000 or more, antique birdhouses selling in the hundreds of dollars, bronze statues bringing $25,000 or more and these are still just a start to the items featuring birds that you will find.
When you hear the beautiful songs produced by the birds in your yard you will know why they bring so much joy to people. If you have never watched as a hummingbird feeds itself from a feeder you have missed one of the true pleasure that you can have today. Yes, the birds do represent something special in God's creation.
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