Audubon's First Engraving Discovered

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A 200-year-old mystery has finally been solved.

Thanks to a never-say-die effort between a currency historian and a scholar studying John James Audubon (1785-1851), the famous artist's first published bird illustration has been discovered.

This depiction of a running grouse or Heath Hen (a relative of the greater prairie chicken) was intended for mass production on bank notes. Audubon had mentioned the drawing and the resulting engraved paper money in two diary entries, but evidence of the work was never found.

Scholars, however, believed the claim was a trick Audubon was known to use, spinning tall tales to beef up his own reputation in order to get more commissions....

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