Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Charles Darwin Autograph Letter Signed "Ch. Darwin." Eight pages on two bifolia sheets, 8.5" x 7", Regents Park, [London]; March 22, [1868]. Written to naturalist John Jenner Weir, shortly after On the Origin of Species was published. Darwin shared evolution related content, writing:

    "I was particularly glad to hear you and your brother's statement about the 'gay' deceiver-pigeons. I did not at all know that certain birds could win the affections of the females, more than other males, except indeed in the case of the Peacock. Conversely, Mr. Hewitt, I remember, states that in making hybrids the cock-pheasant would prefer certain hen-fowls and strongly dislike others. I will write to Mr. H. in a few days and ask him whether he has observed anything of this kind with pure unions of fowls, ducks &c. I had utterly forgotten the case of the Ruff; but now I remember having heard that it was polygamous; but polygamy with Birds, at least, does not seem common enough to have played an important part. So little is known of habits of foreign birds: Wallace does not even know whether Birds of Paradise are polygamous. Have you been a large collector of caterpillars, - I believe so. I inferred from a letter from Dr. Wallace of Colchester that he would account for Mr. Stainton and others rearing more [female symbol] than [male symbol] by their having collected the larger and finer caterpillars. But I misunderstood him, and he maintains that collectors take all caterpillars, large and small, for that they collect the caterpillars alone of the rarer moths or butterflies. What think you? I hear from Prof. Canestrini in Italy that females are born in considerable excess with Bombyx mori, and in greater excess of late years than formerly! Quatrefages writes to me that he believes they are equal in France. So that the further I go, the deeper I sink into the mire. With cordial thanks for your most valuable letters...We remain here till April 1st, and then hurrah for home and quiet work."

    Condition: Flattened mail folds, with toning at the edges. Light soiling, including a mark from a removed paper clip. Bumping and wear to corners. An unusually large and dramatic signature by Darwin.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2020
    22nd Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 566

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Apr 22, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 31 days left to consign to the 2021 September 26 Autumn Luxury Accessories Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    This was my first time dealing with an auction house, and I am 100% completely impressed with Heritage. There is not an aspect of this process that I have a critique for.
    Darryl S.,
    Stuart, FL
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search