Book collectors value Darwin more than school boards do

November 4, 2008

Abe Books’ e-newsletter features “Bookshelves of the Rich and Famous,” showing off a number of volumes one could purchase, if one had the inclination and a very large pocketbook.

This one caught my eye:

1st edition, Darwins On the Origin of Species

1st edition, Darwin's On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin
$179,090.31

If your collection includes books on genetics and evolution, this first edition, first issue from the Father of Evolution is a must have. It was published in 1859, and in a true testament to survival of the fittest, is in handsome condition 149 years later. It’s one of only 1250 copies issued. For only $179,000 and change, it would be a fantastic addition to any library. However, if you want to study the species a little more intently, you could put your cash toward 140 life-sized, hand-finished, fully flexible model human skeletons.

The book’s 1,250 copies sold out the first day of sales.  In 1859, that counted as a massive best seller.

Turns out the book is for sale in England, at Peter Harrington, Antiquarian Bookseller.  That listing has a few more details:

Description: [On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,] or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. First Edition, first issue of “the most influential scientific work of the 19th century” (Horblit) and “the most important biological book ever written” (Freeman), one of 1250 copies. “The publication of the Origin of species ushered in a new era in our thinking about the nature of man. The intellectual revolution it caused and the impact it had on man’s concept of himself and the world were greater than those caused by the works of Copernicus, Newton, and the great physicists of more recent times Every modern discussion of man’s future, the population explosion, the struggle for existence, the purpose of man and the universe, and man’s place in nature rests on Darwin” (Ernst Mayr). 8vo, with adverts dated June 1859. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt, decoration to boards in blind, chocolate brown coated endpapers, all edges untrimmed, Edmonds & Remnants binder’s ticket. Folding diagram, slit at fold. Slightly cocked, small ink mark to edge of spine, else a very nice copy with cloth bright and fresh, hinges uncracked and with no repairs. Rare thus. Bookseller Inventory # 40762

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: London: John Murray, 1859
Publication Date: 1859
Edition: 1st Edition

Nine more gems, for the rich, at Abe Books.  One of them is Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon. C’mon, lottery ticket!


Election Day 2008: Fly the flag, vote

November 4, 2008

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879). The County Election, 1852. Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879). The County Election, 1852. Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

Every polling place should be flying the U.S. flag today.  You may fly yours, too.  In any case, if you have not voted already, go vote today as if our future depends upon it, as if our nation expects every voter to do her or his duty.

Today the nation and world listen to the most humble of citizens.  Speak up, at the ballot box.

The whole world is watching.


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