Isaac Newton heads scientific book sale

A sale of antiquarian books with a theme of discovery is being presented by Bloomsbury Auctions this week. The sweep of the auction's range is quite broad, including works of science from maths and physics to biology alongside works of travel - or exploration.

Amongst the scientific works, two stand out: a third edition of Isaac Newton's Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica and a first edition of George Boole's An Investigation of the Laws of Thought.

Boole is not a household name, but his influence on modern life is enormous. He was the first to create a practical system of logic in algebraic form which ultimately led to the creation of the digital computer.

The rare first edition is thought also to be part of the first issue from that edition, and at £2,000-3,000 is a plausible candidate for an investment.

Newton's Principia is on offer here with a guide price of £3,000-4,000. This is remarkably low compared not only to the first edition which sold recently at Heritage ($191,000) but even the third edition from the same sale brought nearly $33,000.

Unlike earlier editions, Newton fails to credit his bitter rival Leibniz (who was alive for the original publication). All subsequent editions closely track this one. This copy is somewhat stained, but still desirable.

The sale takes place on March 10 in Lonon. Collectors interested in scientific collectibles should take a look at this letter written by Einstein.


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