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Newton, Darwin & Galileo Anchor Beverly Hills Rare Books Event

by WorthPoint Staff (02/10/10).

Sir Isaac Newton's most famous and important work, “Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica,” is among the rare books to be sold by Heritage Auctions on Feb. 11, 2010.

Sir Isaac Newton's most famous and important work, “Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica,” is among the rare books to be sold by Heritage Auctions on Feb. 11, 2010.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – A core of exceedingly rare and valuable math and natural science tomes—taken together they create much of the basis for modern study of the subjects—anchor the deep and highly diverse lineup at Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills’ Feb. 11 Signature Rare Books event.

The auction will take place at Heritage Auctions’ newly opened Beverly Hills branch, located at 9478 West Olympic Boulevard.

The first among equals of the grouping is a beautiful first edition, second issue copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s most famous and important work, “Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica,” London: 1687, the book that “Printing and The Mind of Man” rightly called the “greatest work in the history of science.” It is estimated to bring at least $150,000.

“It’s impossible to calculate the impact of Newton’s “Principia” on the world we live in,” said James Gannon, director of rare books at Heritage Auctions. “This is where Newton formulated the three laws of motion from which he derived the principle of universal gravitation. The second issue of the first edition is much rarer than the first issue, making it even more special to be offering this book.”

A fine first edition copy of Darwin's “Origin of Species,” easily the most important biology book ever penned, estimated at $125,000 or more.

A fine first edition copy of Darwin's “Origin of Species,” easily the most important biology book ever penned, estimated at $125,000 or more.

Not far behind in terms of importance to modern day thought, and certainly one of the most controversial books ever written, is a fine first edition copy of Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” London: 1859, easily the most important biology book ever penned, estimated at $125,000 or more.

“More than 150 years after he first published “Origin of Species,” Darwin’s name is still a catchword for controversy,” said Joe Fay, the manager of rare books at Heritage Auctions. “Darwin completely turned the world of science on its head with his revelations of evolution and natural order. For an advanced collector this book is going to make a great cornerstone.”

Another intriguing and important science text is an excellent copy of the first edition in Latin of Galileo’s “Dialogo,” containing the argument that the Earth revolves around the sun, printed in Strassburg in 1635. It is estimated to bring $30,000-plus.

Important historical works play a significant role in the Heritage Rare Books auction, with an amazing 1842-49 very rare colored issue of David Roberts’ “The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia,” expected to lead the way with a pre-auction estimate of $250,000-plus. This amazing work was made from drawings Roberts made on the spot in the Holy Land. Also on offer, a beautiful set of one of the greatest American color-plate books, Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall’s “History of the Indian Tribes of North America with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs Embellished with One Hundred and Twenty Portraits” presents a greatly desirable piece of American history, estimated to bring $100,000-plus.

A copy of the first edition in Latin of Galileo's “Dialogo,” containing the argument that the Earth revolves around the sun, printed in Strassburg in 1635.

A copy of the first edition in Latin of Galileo's “Dialogo,” containing the argument that the Earth revolves around the sun, printed in Strassburg in 1635.

A Fourth Folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays, “Mr. William Shakespear’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, Published according to the true Original Copies,” London: 1685, is bound to intrigue collectors, given that it is easily the most stately of all the Shakespeare Folios, and carries a pre-auction estimate of $135,000-plus.

Also of great importance in terms of the history of storytelling and fine printing in the English language is a simply magnificent 1896 Kelmscott Press edition of “The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer,” Hammersmith: 1896.

“This is one of approximately 50 copies bound by The Doves Bindery in full white pigskin,” said Gannon. “Perhaps more importantly, the binding was designed by Arts & Crafts luminary William Morris. There may well be no more desirable book from the fine press movement. It was certainly the pinnacle of achievement at Kelmscott Press.”

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