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National Geographic has teamed up with Christie’s for its first-ever auction from its collection of more than 11.5 million photographs and original artwork. Just a small portion of the vast collection detailing the world’s cultures, historic moments, wildlife and expeditions of all sorts will cross the block — 240 pieces dating from the late 1800s to the present.
Images etched into the North American psyche — from the faces of Papua New Guinea tribesmen to explorer Admiral Robert Peary en route to the North Pole in 1908 — are among the photos up for sale. Some of the offerings have never before been published.
The lots will also include original paintings and illustrations, such as Charles Bittinger’s view of Earth as seen from the moon. Several of the high-profile offerings include:
The sale, being held just weeks before National Geographic’s 125th anniversary, is being held to celebrate and promote the society’s image and video archive. The sale’s proceeds will go to its preservation and also for “the nurturing of young photographers, artists and explorers… who are the future of the organization,” according to archive senior vice president Maura Mulvihill.
Based in Washington, National Geographic is among the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions. It funds research and exploration through National Geographic magazine. Its work also reaches audiences via the National Geographic Channel, books and other sources.