Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica will auction for $600,000

A first edition copy of one of the most important works in the history of science, Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica, is expected to provide one of the main attractions in Sotheby's Fine Books & Manuscripts, Including Americana sale.

Isaac Newton Principia Mathematica first edition auction
The Principia was printed using the funding of astronomer Edmond Halley

The auction, which will be held on December 14 in New York, will also feature the love letters of Charles Schulz, which are expected to sell for $350,000. The Principia Mathematica has been valued at $400,000-600,000.

Published by Joseph Streater in 1687, the Principia marked a turning point in the history of physics, with Newton documenting his theories that today form the foundation of classical mechanics. Contained within the book's pages are his famous laws of motion, the law of universal gravitation, and a derivation of Kepler's laws of plantetary motion.

Newton's theories remained unchallenged until the 20th century, when quantum theory and theories of relativity were introduced.

It is estimated that fewer than 300 first edition copies of Principia were originallly printed, and far less of these exist today. In 2008, Christie's sold another first edition, first printing copy for $194,500, achieving an 8% gain on the high estimate of $180,000.

With Isaac Newton collectibles a huge draw for scientific collectors, even a third edition copy of Principia sold for $18,300 in August this year. Scientific memorabilia has seen some outstanding sales in 2012, with an original Daniel Farenheit thermometer making $107,802 at Christie's in October.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has two superb items from fellow scientific pioneer Thomas Edison for sale. The first is an early domed example of his stock ticker, which was one of his first inventions. The second is a signed copy of the Edison Spanish Colonial Light Company's Annual Report. 

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