A catalogue for the Amazing Rare Things exhibition rests on a display case at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace on March 13, 2008 in London. The exhibition has been selected from the Royal Library by Royal Collection Curators in collaboration with naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and displays the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sibylla Merian and Mark Catesby, four artists and a collector who have shaped our knowledge of the natural world. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A catalogue for the Amazing Rare Things exhibition rests on a display case at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace on March 13, 2008 in London. The exhibition has been selected from the Royal Library by Royal Collection Curators in collaboration with naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and displays the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sibylla Merian and Mark Catesby, four artists and a collector who have shaped our knowledge of the natural world. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

When she published Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium at the turn of the 18th century, explorer Maria Sibylla Merian had no way of knowing that her work would eventually be appraised at more than $150,000 by one of the world’s largest brokers of fine art and collectibles.

The Guardian reports that a rare first edition of Merian’s 300-year-old book, which showcases the stunning and colorful insects, spiders, butterflies and amphibians of Suriname, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s today. Housed in a private collection until now, the book was created when Merian and her daughter traveled to South America in September of 1699. They stayed for nearly two years until Malaria forced Merian to return to Amsterdam, where she ultimately died.

The Guardian reports that since 1983, only five copies of this particular book have been auctioned.