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Bonhams achieves world auction record for a presentation copy of Darwin's On the Origin of Species
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: John Murray, 1859. Price realized: $500,075. Photo: Bonhams.


NEW YORK, NY.- A fine first edition, early presentation copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection sold for $500,075, a world auction record for a presentation copy of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in New York on June 13. It had been estimated at $200,000-300,000. The 302-lot sale achieved a total of $1,270,890 and was sold 85% by lot and 94% by value.

Ian Ehling, Director Books and Manuscripts, comments: “This extraordinary presentation copy had been carefully stored in a private collection for nearly 100 years. It generated lots of interest during the exhibition and we saw competitive bidding in the auction room. After a four-way bidding battle, the book sold to a client on the telephone.”

Upon publication in 1859, a number of presentation copies were sent to family and colleagues, including one to Professor Robert Caspary (1818-1887), a German botanist and a frequent Darwin correspondent. Caspary and his work are discussed in Darwin's 1868 The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication as well as in his 1877 The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species. The book was purchased in the early 20th century by Edward Bradford Titchener (1867-1927), an English-born psychologist, professor at Cornell University, and descended to the current owner.

Other highlights from the sale included:

• First printing of The Tragedie of Coriolanus, William Shakespeare's most incisive exploration of the body politic sold for $50,075.

• An unpublished letter from Ernest Hemingway to his father, with a detailed account of his recent bull fighting activities in Spain and a suggestion of his early decision to write his first novel, The Sun Also Rises sold for $25,075.

• First edition of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels, Teerink's "A" edition, one of the greatest satirical fables of the 18th century, sold for $21,325.





Today's News

June 16, 2019

Aronson Amsterdam opens online exhibition of best known Delftware factory

Internationally acclaimed exhibition reveals the radical evolution of Monet's final decade

Milwaukee Art Museum opens first retrospective of influential New York artist James Nares

LACMA opens first major U.S. survey to examine the history of Korean calligraphy

Toledo Museum of Art presents first exhibition to focus on car culture with emphasis on the Midwest

Bonhams achieves world auction record for a presentation copy of Darwin's On the Origin of Species

Columbus Museum of Art celebrates watercolorist Alice Schille

The Frye Art Museum exhibits American oil paintings around 1900 from its permanent collection

Space exploration auction features Apollo 11th 50th anniversary artifacts

Exhibition of more than 130 works showcase Alberto Giacometti's genius

Edward Hopper House Museum and Study Center opens 'Alastair Noble: A Message in a Bo(a)ttle'

Rare $75,000 silver dime found in sunken treasure

From the Rooftops: Hyde offers sky-high exhibition

Exhibition of photographs by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick opens in Baltimore

Bradley Hart's solo exhibition Deconstructing Seurat on view at Anna Zorina Gallery

Ancient Resource Auctions' Antiquities Discovery sale to be held on June 29th

The Photographers' Gallery opens TPG New Talent exhibition

American University Museum summer shows open

GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen opens an exhibition of works by Mattia Denisse

First planted American D-Day flag tops $162K

Ponti Art Gallery presents masterpieces by Giovanni Battista Costantini and Gino Marotta

Ippodo Gallery opens a solo exhibition of over 50 pieces by Shin Fujihira

32 artists take over Brooklyn's oldest brewery this summer

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