Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    William Harvey. De Motu Cordis, & Sanguinis in animalibus, Anatomica Exercitatio... Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: Joannis Maire, 1639. Second complete edition, third overall. Quarto (7.375 x 5.5 inches; 187 x 140 mm). [i, title], [ii, blank], [iii-iv, dedication], 1-267; [1, blank], [1, Iacobi Primorisii Exercitationes & Animadversiones], [2, blank], 3-84, [4, blank] pages. Signature D duplicated and bound immediately following first occurrence. "Ad Lectorem," comprising two leaves, bound out of order and between leaves "L" and "L2" in Primerose's 84 page tract bound at the end of Harvey's text. With woodcut device on title page, woodcut tailpiece, and woodcut initials throughout. Complete with two engraved plates (bound here before signature A). Contemporary full vellum, ink title on spine; minor staining. Cream-colored endpapers, all edges trimmed. Internally clean, plates particularly bright and attractive; scattered foxing to text block, worming to lower right margin from S to T2, continuing to Gg, more pronounced Gg2 to Hh2, minor worming continuing to Ll, open tear to lower right corner of N2, not affecting text. A very good example of this foundational text, "the most important book in the history of medicine" (Garrison and Morton).

    "Although this is actually the third edition of De motu cordis, it is only the second complete edition. The second edition of 1635 was lacking parts of the introduction, chapters I and XVI, and the plates. In this edition, the text of Harvey's treatise is printed passage by passage alternatively with the refutations of Emilio Parisano (1567-1643), one of Harvey's many opponents. The criticism and denials of James Primerose, first published in 1630, are also included as a separate tract at the end of the book" (Heirs of Hippocrates).

    In this pioneering text, first published in 1628, "Harvey proved experimentally that in animals the blood is impelled in a circle by the beat of the heart, passing from arteries to veins through pores" (Garrison and Morton). Uncommonly, Harvey's work was generally accepted by many of his colleagues during his lifetime. "Descartes used the discovery as a basis for his mechanistic physiology; English experimental scientists regarded the discovery as of equal importance with Copernican astronomy or Galilean physics" (PMM).

    Heirs of Hippocrates 417, Keynes 3; and see Garrison and Morton 759, Heralds of Science 123, PMM 127, Wellcome I, 3070.

    *Note: Updated to state that the two leaves comprising "Ad Lectorem" are bound out of order and misbound between leaves "L" and "L2" in the Primerose tract.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    9th-10th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 448

    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 Jun 9, 2021 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    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 2022 January 8 Featuring The Michael Ward Collection of Western Americana & Political Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search