A large and impressive assortment of rare manuscripts, letters and signed documents sold for high prices at Christie’s New York last Thursday, June 23. Even though there were lots related to many famous names, such as Ernest Hemingway, Beatrix Potter, Albert Einstein, probably some of the most interesting pieces were first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s monumentally important work from 1859, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
Expected to sell for $30,000 – $40,000, it eventually reached the much higher price of $62,500. Published as The Origin of Species on 24 November 1859 in a print run of 1250 copies, it expounded a theory of evolution that was recognisably superior and of infinitely greater impact than all previous hypotheses explaining biological diversity.
Other notable titles that did well at the auction include a rare first edition of Ian Fleming’s 1953 printed Casino Royale. Estimated at $8,000-12,000, the novel was sold at $17,500. However, the show stealers were attributed to Sir Winston Churchill. On sale were a set of inscribed and signed first editions of some of his books that earned $30,000, which was as much as double the pre-estimate value.