First Edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, "... the most important biological book ever written" (Freeman)

    Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray, 1859. First edition of this groundbreaking work and one of the most influential books ever written. With the misprint "speceies" on page 20 and the whale bear story on page 184 (this book, bound without the half-title and the final ads, has no other means of identifying it as a first except for the "speceies" misprint). Octavo. [x], 502 pages. With one fold-out lithographed diagram inserted. Bound without half-title and thirty-two pages of ads. Bound in contemporary half brown calf over marbled boards, spine ruled in blind and gilt, burgundy gilt morocco lettering label, all edges marbled. Spine a bit sunned, some wear to binding, front hinge and title-page near gutter repaired, some soiling to title-page, some pages unopened (most of those with short tears), occasional foxing or thumbsoiling in text, one short tear to the fold-out plate. Still, a good copy of this monumental book. Housed in cloth slipcase and matching blue cloth clamshell case. This book, issued in an edition of 1,250 copies (with 1,170 available for sale to the public), is said to have sold out on publication day, although Freeman has some doubt about this.

    "Prepared under the advice of Lyell and Hooker, this was Darwin's greatest work and one of the most important books ever published... The evidence of the existence of evolution and that it resulted from the survival of the fittest by natural selection is marshalled and set out as never before. Garrison considered this "The most wonderful piece of synthesis in the history of science". Darwin's influence on biology was fundamental, its full implications being by no means yet exhausted."

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    10th Wednesday
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