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

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.

Can You Guess the Book by the Subtitle?

Letters From James Bond Creator Ian Fleming Detailing His Infidelity Hit the Auction Block


If the adage “write what you know” truly applies, then James Bond author Ian Fleming took it to heart. Like 007, his famously womanizing character who later went on to star in a hugely successful movie franchise, Fleming was apparently prone to finding himself in choppy relationship waters, according to a collection of private letters coming up for auction.

Sotheby’s is offering a collection of 160 pieces of correspondence belonging to Fleming, including a series of exchanges between the writer and his wife, Ann, that detail his infidelity.

“You mention ‘bad old bachelor days’—the only person you stopped sleeping with when they ceased was me!” Ann wrote, apparently referencing Fleming’s indiscretions. Other letters seem to hint at a more stable, if lurid, coupling, with Fleming affectionately referring to her as “darling baby” and opening his messages by addressing her as “Dear Monkey” or “Darling Pig.”

Before they married, Ann expressed hope Fleming would arrive to take her away from her then-husband, Esmond, Viscount Rothermere, and “put me in your bed with a raw cowhide whip in my hand so as I can keep you well behaved for 40 years.” Clearly, that plan didn't succeed.

Fleming and Ann were married in 1952 and remained together until his death in 1964. The letters were often exchanged while the writer was on retreat at Goldeneye, Jamaica, where he wrote many of his Bond novels. The letters also frequently reference his work and some of Bond’s origins. In one, he explains work is going so well he’s completing a chapter a day. Describing a boat given to him by a friend, he wrote that “I have christened [it] Octopussy.”

The salacious letters will be auctioned from December 3 to 10 and are expected to fetch between about $260,000 and $400,000.

[h/t The Telegraph]