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A First Edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species Could Sell for $180,000

Jake Rossen
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images / Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

If you’re interested in a first edition of Charles Darwin’s revolutionary 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, you should pay close attention to an upcoming Hindman auction in Chicago on November 5. That’s when bibliophiles of means will bid to see which of them takes possession of a book estimated to sell for between $120,000 and $180,000.

On the Origin of Species was Darwin’s attempt to illustrate his theory of evolution and the process of natural selection, which dictates that organisms with genetic variations adapted to their environment will outlast organisms that don't adapt. The book was published on November 24, 1859 and was well-received by scientists.

The Hindman copy of On the Origin of Species, published by John Murray of London, is said to be in “superb” condition. Another copy of the title sold at the Bonhams auction house in June 2019 for $500,075.

The book is part of an 85-title lot that was amassed by a single collector of rare volumes. Among the other offerings: Elementa Geometriae by Euclid, a 1422 tome thought to be one of the earliest printed books with geometrical figures and estimated to sell for $60,000 to $80,000; Ulysses by James Joyce, a 1922 first edition and limited-issue publisher’s print, signed by Joyce and estimated to sell for $120,000 to $180,000; and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, a 1997 first edition signed by Rowling and expected to fetch between $80,000 and $120,000.