Personal Binoculars The Roger Tory Peterson Auction
Original Art from
The Estates Of Roger Tory Peterson & Virginia Marie Peterson

Public Preview: Friday, September 7, 2012, 12:00pm - 8:00pm

Auction: Saturday, September 8, 2012(Doors open at 9:00am)
Session I: 10:00am, Session II: 2:00pm

Location: The Arader Galleries
1016 Madison Avenue
New York, NY

The Auction

Guernsey's will be conducting a 500-lot auction consisting entirely of the work of Roger Tory Peterson. This unprecedented offering is coming directly from the estates of Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson, and the material included has never previously been available for sale. Approximately one half of the lots will be devoted to the original paintings for Dr. Peterson's famed Field Guides, with examples from each of the six Guides produced over the decades. Additional lots will feature drawings of flora and fauna from his other published books, with a specific section of the event devoted to artwork of penguins, a particular passion of Dr. Peterson. (The penguin houses in a number of America's foremost zoos are named after the artist.)

Yet another section of the event will feature approximately two hundred Peterson photographs, none of which have ever been reproduced in the past. Each photographic image will be offered as a beautiful, large format 1/1 print with estate stamp confirming that these are the only prints of these photographs ever produced.

The Auction and Preview will be held in at the prestigious Arader Galleries, a magnificent Beaux Arts townhouse, located at 1016 Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan's cultural district. Arader Galleries is well known for its unparalleled collection of natural history engravings and watercolors, antique maps and atlases, and rare books, a selection of which will remain on view during the Roger Tory Peterson Auction and Preview.

For more than 40 years, 1016 Madison was home to the famous Perls Galleries and its fabulous collection of works by Picasso, Modigliani, Braque, Léger, Soutine, among others. The famous Calder Sidewalk, that graces the front of 1016 Madison and its adjacent townhouses, remains as evidence of the Perls Galleries' long-standing representation of Alexander Calder.

Should you have questions about the Roger Tory Peterson Auction or wish to discuss any aspect of the event in advance, please feel free to contact Guernsey's at your convenience.


Roger Tory Peterson's name is synonymous with the pursuit of "birding." Indeed, for millions upon millions, their very introduction to viewing birds started when they first picked up one of Dr. Peterson's distinctive Field Guides which, more likely than not, already occupied a place of honor on the family's book shelf. The great artist's elegant and detailed work provided for a system of easy bird identification in the wild which, until that time, simply did not exist. In the words of S. Dillon Ripley, then head of the Smithsonian Museum, Roger Tory Peterson was "the Audubon of the 20th Century."

Before the publication of the first Field Guide volume in 1934, there were few practical volumes for the avid bird enthusiast to use in the field. Bird identification was done with the bird in hand—often dependant on a gun for specimens to study and paint. Two things changed all that: the availability of high-quality field glasses and the publication of Dr. Peterson's Field Guide.

Although the public grew to love the paintings of Dr. Peterson through his Field Guides, the artist was equally accomplished as a nature photographer. In the 1980's, he founded NAMPA, the North American Nature Photography Association now consisting of more than 2,500 professional members. Viewed as the " Father of Nature Photography," in recognition of Roger Tory Peterson's pioneering efforts, the annual award for excellence granted by NANPA is named after him.

It is almost impossible to overstate Roger Tory Peterson's influence on the pursuit of birding…or on the environmental movement, to which birding provided much of the original impetus. Dr. Peterson often stated that birds are a "litmus test" of the state of our environment. By studying and documenting the distribution patterns of birds, bird enthusiasts have contributed immeasurably to our environmental awareness and concern.

It was the emotional aspect of birding which most appealed to Dr. Peterson and the millions of bird enthusiasts he has both instructed and inspired. "The man who is curious about wild things or growing things is never alone in his travels," wrote Dr. Peterson. "To him no ocean, desert, or mountaintop is desolate. There is always life, new discoveries to be made."

The recipient of more than 20 honorary Doctorates, Roger Tory Peterson was trained at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York City. He began his career with the National Audubon Society, where he became Art Editor of Audubon magazine. He published A Field Guide to the Birds in 1934 which covered Eastern birds. Many million copies have been sold of the original Field Guide and his additional Guides that followed.

Dr. Peterson has won numerous awards and medals, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


A beautifully designed catalogue is available in an extremely limited edition. Click here to order your copy.

Internet Bidding

Those who are unable to attend the auction but would like to participate can view the full catalogue online, and leave advance absentee bids, as well as bid live as the sale is taking place at


Interested bidders should review the Terms & Conditions, as well as the Bidder Agreement form, and the Absentee Bid form.

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