Darwin’s expensive manuscript

It is a piece of paper on which Charles Darwin defends his theory of evolution. It sold for a record price at Sotheby’s auction house. What price did Darwin’s expensive manuscript fetch? The sum of US$882,000.

Darwin's costly manuscript fetched the price of US$882,000.
Darwin’s costly manuscript fetched the price of 882 thousand dollars.

The most expensive

It managed to exceed the price paid for any other Darwin-related material. He produced the document in 1865 for a celebrity magazine. The publication was called The Autographic Mirror. It printed copies of manuscripts and signatures of famous people, along with their biography.

The editor of the magazine asked Darwin to make a contribution. The scientist then took the opportunity to get even with his detractors. At that time, six years had passed since the release of the first edition of his book “On the Origin of Species”. And a common criticism was that his theory could not explain the genesis of life itself.

Darwin accepted that this was so. But he claimed that it was irrelevant to his observations about how life on Earth evolves and diversifies. As with gravity, its “essence” is not understood. But Newton’s equations certainly work, Darwin wrote.

The biologist’s autographed page was part of Sotheby’s “Age of Wonders” online auction. The buyers wish to remain anonymous. The price of US$882,000 includes both seller’s commission and buyer’s fees. These are the charges Sotheby’s makes for handling the sale.

The highest price ever paid for a Darwin manuscript was US$490,000.

Darwin wrote there a defense of his evolutionary theory.
Darwin wrote there a defense of his evolutionary theory.

What does Darwin’s expensive manuscript say?

I have already recapitulated the main facts and considerations which have convincingly convinced me that species have been modified, during a long course of descent, through the preservation or natural selection of different favorable slight variations. I do not believe that a false theory could explain, as the theory of natural selection apparently explains, the multiple broad classes of facts specified above. It is not a valid objection that science does not yet shed light on the major problem of the essence or origin of life. Who can explain what is the essence of the attraction of gravity? Now no one objects to following up the results consequent upon this element of attraction; even though Leibnitz had earlier accused Newton of introducing “occult qualities and miracles into philosophy.” Charles Darwin.

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