It’s estimated that Charles Darwin’s copy of “On the Origin of Species” including the scientist’s own hand-written notes could go for more than $660,000.
The previously undiscovered copy of Darwin’s own original revisions of his work is going to be up for auction next month in London by Christie’s. The auction house said that the book will offer “for the first time a precise reading of Darwin’s exact revisions without the veil of reconstruction and translation.”
“(It) provides an insight into his working method, and documents the further development of his ideas for his ‘big book,'” the description continues.
The additions referred to in the book for auction are what Darwin had translated for the second German addition of his book and eventually included in the fourth English edition and all other versions — making these notes the final draft of Darwin’s seminal work.
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Christie’s says that Darwin’s notes were in the possession of his translator, HG Bronn, when he died in 1862 before belonging to the scientist’s correspondent, Melchior Neumayr, and his descendants.
The auction house is including a letter Darwin wrote to Neumayr regarding his edits with the book to be bid on.
“I should like to make a few more corrections on clean sheets of the last English Edition,” Darwin wrote. “I have compared the sheets of the Third English Edition with the Second which was translated into German, & have marked with a pencil line all the additions & corrections… Where merely a few words have been altered I have underlined them with pencil: where a sentence has to be omitted I have marked ‘dele’,” he continued.
Darwin’s own self-edits to his work “reflect (his) ongoing refinement of his scientific research and thinking,” Christie’s specialist Meg Ford told the Guardian. “Annotated copies by him are incredibly rare. To have his own thoughts on a text that we know occupied him fully right up until his death is really just remarkable.”
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