HistoryofScience.com Blog

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Richard Green Auction Meets Expectations

Confirming that there is a disconnect between elements of the rare book market and the overall economy, the library of rare scientific books assembled by our former client, Richard Green, auctioned on June 17, met expectations by achieving a sales total of $11,019,687 including buyer's premium. New price levels were reached for the majority of items in the sale. Notable, but expected high prices included $2,210,500 for the first edition of Copernicus' De revolutionibus (1543), $194,500 for the first edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859), $506,500 for the first edition of Galileo's Le operazioni del compasso geometrico, et militare. (1606). There were also numerous unexpectedly high prices realized, including: $170,500 for the offprint of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage's translation of Menabrea's paper describing the theoretical operations of Babbage's never-realized Analytical Engine (1843), $170,500 for the earliest available telephone directory published in New Haven, 1878, $182,500 for the three separate issues of Turing's On Computable Numbers (1936-37). These prices included the buyer's premium.

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