December 2, 2009

What's In Your Bathroom?

According to the BBC, a first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, which was kept in a toilet in Oxfordshire, has sold for nearly twice the expected price.

The book was bought at Christie's Auction House for £103,250 ($172,242). It was expected to reach £60,000.

The book was kept on a bookcase in a guest lavatory at the owner's family home in Oxfordshire.

It was sold on the 150th anniversary of its publication. Just 1,250 copies of the work were produced in 1859.

The revolutionary scientific work, which has the full title On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, had the original publisher's green cloth cover and gilt-decorated spine.

Christie's described the book, that was bought about 40 years ago in a West Country shop for a few shillings, as "lightly bumped" around the corners.


Harry said...

Hmmm...I imagine after all that time in the loo, there must be some additional "aura" to this copy of Darwin's book. Personally, I've never been able to muster the faith required to buy into his "it just happened" theory, particularly with more modern, scientific discoveries of the complicated coding of DNA. As any computer geek will tell you, programs don't write themselves.

Paul Taylor said...

Harry -

Are you suggesting that there might be some kind of karma going on, in the sense that this book was found resting above the toilet? :-)


Harry said...

No, not suggesting that, but now that you mention it...

Thing with Darwin is, his idea is just a theory, an unproven (and unprovable) one. The amount of faith required to buy it is remarkable for something so generally accepted in the scientific community.

This type of thing, where one starts with a conclusion and works backward, picking and choosing bits of "evidence" that support your diagnosis, is very common among biographers of Civil War personalities, to the extent where multiple books have been written to show that Lincoln, an absolutely atrocious manager, is in fact a model to be held up and copied by businessmen!