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The $3m-4m collection of natural history, Americana and plate books, formed over the last 40 years, will be sold in two parts: in New York on October 13 and in London on November 3.

In an unprecedented move sympathetic to a difficult market for natural history books, the auctioneers are to cut their premium from 20 to 10 per cent, a level not seen since the 1980s.