A long-lost copy of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species complete with handwritten revisions by the influential biologist has sold for a world record £788,000.
The annotated sheets, from 1861, had been sent to H.G. Bronn to be translated into German.
It was later bound and entered the possession of Darwin’s correspondent, the German palaeontologist Melchior Neumayr.
The book recently emerged from descendants of Mr Neumayr who decided to sell the valuable copy through Christie’s at its Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale.
Mr Neumayr, an Austrian palaeontologist and son of a Bavarian Minister of State, received a letter from Darwin asking him for his opinion on the work of scientist Leopold Wuertenberger.
The book was given a guide price of £300,000 to £500,000 but ended up selling for £788,000 – a record price for the book.
Christie’s sold an unannotated edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species in July this year for £269,000 which was, until now, the record price for a first edition of the book.
Margaret Ford, Christie’s international head of books, manuscripts and scientific instruments, said: ‘If ever a book deserved to set a world auction record, it was this copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species.
‘Annotated by the great scientist himself, it represented a further development in his theories on evolution and our discovery that it was a long-lost copy added to its appeal.’
The majority of Darwin’s revisions were incorporated into the fourth English and all subsequent editions, and they became Darwin’s definitive text.
Darwin’s influential book, which was originally published in 1859, is officially known as On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
It explains his theory of evolution and has been voted the most influential academic book ever written.
The £10 paper note which featured Charles Darwin has been replaced by a £10 Jane Austen plastic note.
It will cease to be legal tender on March 1, 2018.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Dianne Apen-Sadler