Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    The Foundation of Scientific Economics

    David Ricardo. On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation. London: John Murray, 1817. First edition, second issue (with the last line of page 589 reading "different" instead of "differently") Approximately 8.5 x 5 inches. Octavo. viii, 589, [1, errata], [13, index], [1, blank] pages. Modern full brown calf, smooth spine double-ruled, with a red morocco gilt lettering label, new endleaves and blanks. Library bookplate, ink "Withdrawn" stamps on recto and verso of title-page, as well as a perforated stamp near the margin, a few small library ink stamps throughout, page viii trimmed a bit on the margin. Some minor foxing in text. Overall, a very good copy of this now extremely scarce cornerstone of political economy. From the James and Deborah Boyd Collection.

    More Information:

    First edition of a major classic in the history of political economy and Ricardo's magnum opus, of which about 500 copies were printed. By 1817, through the publication of a number of pamphlets, Ricardo had become a respected authority. Urged by James Mill and others to set down a systematic account of his theories, he produced this book. His work is based on older and accepted theories of relations between rent, labour and production, but a new emphasis was provided by his theory of distribution. Ricardo's exact mathematical approach and deductive methods have influenced succeeding generations of economists, especially in the fields of currency and banking. "Ricardo was, in a sense, the first 'scientific economist'...Ricardo saw the study of economics as a pure science whose abstractions were capable of quasi-mathematical proof. Although his theorems remain hypothetical, his deductive methods have proved of great use in the elementary analysis of economic problems, and in the subjects which are capable of his rigid analysis, currency and banking, it has proved of lasting value" (Printing and the Mind of Man). Goldsmiths' 21734. Kress B.7029. Printing and the Mind of Man 277.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 934

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    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
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 15 Rare Books Signature Auction Featuring the Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction, Part III - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search