Got a spare $1 million? Why not grab a complete copy of Edward S. Curtis’ ‘The North American Indian’?


posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM EDT


Come October 3rd, Christie's auction house will hold a photography auction, and in addition to an unparalleled collection of images up for bid from some of the most famed of all photographers, there's also the opportunity to bid on one of the most incredible pieces of ethnographic works the world has ever seen: Edward S. Curtis' The North American Indian.

The North American Indian took Curtis some 30 years to complete, far outlasting his original five year commission. Twenty volumes long, in some cases it represents the only recorded versions of oral history of Native American tribes. You can see the entire project online for free, but if you're interested in owning one of the extremely rare complete sets of both the portfolios and written volumes? Then this Christie's auction will be one of the few opportunities to bid on one. The only downside? It's pegged to go for $1,000,000 – $1,500,000.

Curtis is hardly the only famed artist represented in this auction. If you have the funds, you could grab a print of Irving Penn's The Hand of Miles Davis, Eggleston's Memphis (Tricycle), Steve McCurry's Afghan Girl, or works by Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams, Ed Weston, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others. And while much of it runs in the tens of thousands of dollars, there are still some options for people whose pocket books aren't quite as deep. For less than an estimated $10,000, you could pick up a work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, or Ansel Adams.

Now, where's my checkbook?