First Edition

First Edition Books for Sale Online

Raptis Rare Books maintains an extensive collection of rare and first-edition books from a variety of authors and publishers. Navigate through our full selection of first-editions below to find a particular item you're looking for, ask a question, or order online today!

Showing 1–20 of 5569 results

  • “Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends": First Edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

    DARWIN, Charles.

    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

    London: John Murray, 1859.

    First edition of “certainly the most important biological book ever written” (Freeman), one of 1250 copies. Octavo, bound in original cloth, half-title, one folding lithographed diagram, without advertisements. In fine condition with a touch of shelfwear. Housed in a custom clamshell box. An exceptional example of this landmark work, one of the nicest extant.

    Price: $400,000.00     Item Number: 116380

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • FIRST EDITION OF ANDREAS VESALIUS'S MAGNUM OPUS, THE MOST MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT IN THE HISTORY OF MEDICAL EDUCATION AND "ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SCIENTIFIC BOOKS EVER PRINTED": DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA LIBRI SEPTUM; ON THE FABRIC OF THE HUMAN BODY IN SEVEN BOOKS

    VESALIUS, Andreas.

    De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem [On the Fabric of the Human Body in Seven Books].

    Basel: Ex Officina Joannis Oporini, 1543.

    First edition of the most important and influential book in the study of human anatomy and “one of the most beautiful scientific books ever printed”(Grolier). Folio, bound in full 18th century calf, woodcut title page with Vesalius performing a dissection, woodcut portrait of the author, over 200 woodcut anatomical illustrations, including 21 full page and 2 folding-sheet figural woodcuts of the skeletal, muscular, vascular and nervous systems. In very good condition with some light dampstaining to some page edges. Rare and desirable, especially in contemporary calf. A splendid example of Vesalius’ masterpiece, one of the most monumental achievements in the history of  both medical education and printing.

    Price: $300,000.00     Item Number: 30020

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • “The constancy of the laws of nature, or the certainty with which we may expect the same effects from the same causes, is the foundation of the faculty of reason”: Rare First Edition of Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population; With An autograph Note from Him

    MALTHUS, Thomas Robert.

    An Essay on the Principle of Population, as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society.

    London: J. Johnson, 1798.

    First edition of this cornerstone text of modern economics. Octavo, bound in three quarters calf. Laid in is a clipping from an original manuscript signed by Malthus and entirely in his hand which reads in part, “If at one time such a given product would make an effectual demand for certain commodities the conditions of the supply of which are supposed to remain the same, it would immediately cease to make such effectual.” Signed by Malthus in the lower right corner, “Malthus.” The verso features two further partial lines of text relating to supply and demand. In near fine condition. First editions of Malthus’ magnum opus are exceptionally scarce.

    Price: $200,000.00     Item Number: 116955

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "To Jack L. Warner - Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture - with my profound gratitude": First Edition of Ayn Rand's Magnum Opus The Fountainhead; Inscribed by Her to Jack Warner

    RAND, Ayn.

    The Fountainhead.

    Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943.

    First edition, first issue with first edition stated on the copyright page of the author’s first major novel, as well as her first best-seller. Octavo, original red cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Jack L. Warner – Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture – with my profound gratitude – Ayn Rand. January 7, 1949.” The recipient, Jack Warner, was the co-founder, president, and driving force behind the Warner Bros. Studios. His career spanned some 45 years, its duration surpassing that of any other of the seminal Hollywood studio moguls. Rand sold the film rights to Warner several years earlier with the contractual proviso that she would provide the screenplay, which would be unalterable. In fact, the director wanted changes, but Warner supported the author and honored the contract. This book’s inscription, clearly referring to this, was presented about a half year prior to the film’s release. Of Rand’s fiction, The Fountainhead is generally conceded to be her most important and enduring work, a passionate portrait of uncompromising individualism. In the decades since its debut, the film has gained the critical acceptance, even the acclaim, that initially evaded it. Near fine in a near fine first-issue dust jacket with a touch of rubbing and no fading to the spine, which is endemic to this title. One of the finest association copies possible, linking the famed author with the legendary founder of Warner Brothers and producer of the iconic film.

    Price: $200,000.00     Item Number: 125425

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • Exceptionally rare autograph letter signed by George Washington to revolutionary war ally Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau

    WASHINGTON, George. [Alexander Hamilton; Rochambeau].

    George Washington Autograph Letter Signed.

    April 10, 1781.

    Exceptionally rare autograph letter signed by George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army to French ally Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, whose military assistance in the Siege of Yorktown essentially ended the Revolutionary War. The body of the letter is entirely in the hand of Alexander Hamilton and dated 10 April 1781. In the spring of 1781, officials from Massachusetts approached Rochambeau with a proposal to attack the British post at the mouth of the Penobscot river which had been established in June 1779 to secure timber for shipyards in Halifax and to protect Nova Scotia from any American advance. On April 6, Rochambeau informed Washington that he was willing to send a detachment of troops and that Admiral Destouches would offer naval assistance, but observing that he was under Washington’s command, he would await his approval before approving the action (Rochambeau to Washington, 6 April 1781, Papers of George Washington, Library of Congress). Washington here responds offering his gratitude that Destouches, who had only recently lost a naval engagement with the British in an unsuccessful attempt to relieve Lafayette in Virginia, would be willing “to undertake the expedition to Penobscot and to you for your readiness to furnish a detachment of troops for the same purpose. The object is certainly worth attention and if it can be effected will be very agreeable to the States, particularly to those of the East.” He trusts that Destouches “can best judge from the situation of the enemy’s fleet how far it may be attempted with prudence, and Your Excellency from the information you have recently received what number of troops will be sufficient for the enterprise—I am persuaded it will be calculated how far it is probable the enemy may follow with a part of their fleet—whether the post can be carried by a coup de main, or may require so much time as to make it likely the operation will be interrupted before its conclusion—in case of a superior squadron being sent by the enemy what possibility there is of protection or a safe retreat for the ships and even for the land force (through an unsettled country in which numbers perished for want of provision in a former attempt)—All these are points too important not to have been well weighed, and your conversations with the Massachusetts deputies will have been able to enlighten you upon them.” Here, he is referencing the unsuccessful attempt by Massachusetts in 1779 to destroy the post, abandoned when British ships with reinforcements forced an arduous overland retreat by the Americans. Despite his assurances that Rochambeau and Destouches had matters well in hand, Washington took the “liberty to remark [on] two things—one that it appears to me frigates without any ships of the line will answer the purpose as well as with them and less will be risked than by dividing the body of the fleet. Frigates (especially the forty fours) will afford a safe escort to the troops against any thing now in those Seas, and with respect to a detachment from the enemy’s fleet, it would be always proportioned to the force we should send and if we have two sixty fours, they would even be an object for their whole fleet. The other observation I would make is, that dispatch being essential to success, it will in my opinion be adviseable not to depend on any cooperation of the Militia, but to send at once such a force from your army as you deem completely adequate to a speedy reduction of the post. The country in the neighbourhood of Penobscot is too thinly inhabited to afford any resource of Militia there, and to assemble and convey them from remote places would announce your design—retard your operations, and give leisure to the enemy to counteract you. Indeed I would recommend for the sake of secrecy to conceal your determination from the State itself.” On 15 April Rochambeau replied to Washington observing that while he had sufficient troops to spare, “your Excellency’s observations upon the Separation of our fleet, and upon the danger to be interrupted by superior forces, during the course of the Expedition, which Mr Destouches does not Look on as possible to be undertaken with his frigates only, are the motives which cause this project to be Laid aside for the present moment.” (Rochambeau to Washington, 15 April 1781, Papers of George Washington, Library of Congress). Soon Washington and Rochambeau‘s attention returned again to Virginia, and within months their combined forces would be closing in on Yorktown. In near fine condition. Exceptionally rare and desirable, being the only communication between the storied commanders of the Yorktown campaign to appear at auction in more than a century.

    Price: $175,000.00     Item Number: 125872

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "Linking three leaders of the Enlightenment": Exceptionally rare Benjamin Franklin presentation copy of Halley's edition of Menelaus's Spherics; presented by him to famed Scottish Mathematician Robert Simson

    HALLEY, Edmond. [Benjamin Franklin].

    Menelai Sphaericorum Libri III. Quos olim, collatis MSS. Hebraeis & Arabicis, Typis exprimendos curavit Vir Cl. Ed. Halleius L.L.D. R.S.S. & Geometriae Professor Savil. Oxoniensis. [Menelaus’ Spherics].

    Oxonii [Oxford]: Sumptibus Academicis, 1758.

    Exceptionally rare Benjamin Franklin presentation copy of Halley’s edition of Menelaus’s Spherics. Octavo, bound in full contemporary calf with gilt ruling to the spine in six compartments within raised gilt bands, red morocco spine label lettered in gilt. Presentation copy, presented by Benjamin Franklin to Scottish mathematician Robert Simson with Simson’s inscription to the second free endpaper noting that the book was presented to him by Franklin, “Ex dono viri praestantissimi et mihi amicissimi Benjamin Franklin 12mo Martii A.D. 1760, Robert Simson.” Franklin toured Scotland in 1759, the precise year that Halley’s Comet reappeared as predicted, leading French astronomer Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille to name it in his honor. While there, Franklin was granted a doctorate by the University of St. Andrews together with the freedom of the city of Edinburgh and met with the luminaries of the Scottish Enlightenment, including David Hume, Adam Smith, and Robert Simson. He later recalled the tour as ‘six weeks of the densest happiness I have known’ (Fay, Adam Smith and the Scotland of his Day, 1956, p. 124). Simson was a professor of mathematics at Glasgow, renowned for his works on ancient geometry. Adam Smith, who was his student while at university, revered Simson and deemed him one of “the two greatest mathematicians… that have lived in my time” (Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1790 ed, p 312). Upon his return to London in 1760, Franklin gifted Simson this copy of Menelaus’s Spherics, a work foundational to spherical geometry with early astronomical implications, such as determining the trajectory of planets. Importantly, as well, it was Halley himself who suggested to Simson that he specialize in restoring the ancient geometers when they had first met in 1711. As two men of science, Franklin and Simson almost certainly discussed the astronomical news of the day – the 1759 reappearance of Halley’s Comet and the upcoming 1761 transit of Venus; in fact, Simson wrote to another colleague in July 1761 inquiring after details of the astronomical observations that “Dr Bradley, Dr Bevis, Mr short or other good observers have made of the transit of Venus”. With extensive annotations in Simson’s hand including an erratum to title-page verso, marginalia to pages vii, viii, 6, 17 and 18, and four full pages of annotations to rear blank, free endpaper and pastedown. In very good condition. Rebacked. Housed in a custom clamshell box. An exceptionally rare edition of this important work linking three leaders of the Enlightenment and reflecting the collaborative scientific spirit that enabled 18th-century scientists to determine the astronomical unit and take the true measure of the universe.

    Price: $175,000.00     Item Number: 130904

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "the first novel in the English language": Exceedingly rare complete first edition set of all three books in Defoe's classic Robinson Crusoe series

    DEFOE, Daniel.

    The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; Serious Reflections During the Life And Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

    London: Printed for W. Taylor at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row, 1719-1720.

    Exceedingly rare complete first edition set of all three books in Defoe’s classic Robinson Crusoe series, including the scarce first and only printing of the third book in the series. Octavo, three volumes bound in full crushed red morocco by Francis Bedford with gilt titles and tooling to the spine in six compartments within raised gilt bands, triple gilt ruling to the front and rear panels, gilt turn-ins and inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. The set consists of: Vol. I. The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, where-in all the Men perished by himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself. First edition, mixed state with the famed engraved frontispiece portrait of Robinson Crusoe by Clark and Pine, the title in second state with semi-colon after London, third state of the preface with the catchword “apply” correctly spelled, and first state of Z4r with “Pilot” misspelled “Pilate” and “Portugnese” for “Portuguese”, four pages of advertisements at rear. Bibliographic note tipped in. Vol. II. ; Being the Second and Last Part of His Life, And the Strange Surprizing Accounts of his Travels Round three Parts of the Globe. Written By Himself. First edition, second issue with the publisher’s notice to the verso of the last leaf of the Preface and page 295 corectly numbered, folding map of the world and 11 pages of advertisements at rear. Volume III. : With His Vision of the Angelick World. Written By Himself. First edition, first issue with the catchword “The” on page 270, folding engraved plan of Crusoe’s island by Clark and Pine, 2 pages of advertisements at rear. [Grolier English 41; Hutchins 52-71, 97-112, 122-8; Moore 412 & 417; PMM 180; Rothschild 775]. In fine condition. An exceedingly rare and handsomely bound complete set of this cornerstone in English literature.

    Price: $175,000.00     Item Number: 129597

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "Sail on O Ship of State! Sail on, o union, strong and great!" One of the two broadsides specially printed and carried by Churchill to the Atlantic Conference signed by both him and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    ROOSEVELT, Franklin Delano; Winston S. Churchill. [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow].

    Sail On, O Ship of State! The Longfellow Verse in Mr. Roosevelt’s Message to Mr. Churchill.

    Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd., [1941].

    Rare lithographic broadside signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the thirty-second President of the United States and Winston S. Churchill as Prime Minster of the United Kingdom at the Atlantic Conference; one of only two known examples of this broadside specially printed at Churchill’s direction and signed by both world leaders at their first wartime conference. One page, the lithograph features the famed Henry Wadsworth Longfellow verse first used by FDR in a letter of support to Churchill before the United States entered the war and a galleon at sea. The letter, sent the day before Roosevelt’s third inauguration on January 20, 1941 read in full, “Dear Churchill, Wendell Wilkie will give you this. He is truly helping to keep politics out over here. I think this verse applies to you people as it does to us: “Sail on, Oh Ship of State! Sail on, Oh Union strong and great. Humanity with all its fears, With all the hope of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate.” As ever yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.” “Roosevelt never made a more graceful or effective gesture than that” (R. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, 234). The letter and the verse were hand-carried by Wendell Wilkie to London and given by Hopkins to the Prime Minister. Churchill, desperate for American support, found the letter “an inspiration”, had it framed, and proudly displayed it at Chartwell for many years. In early August of 1941, Churchill had this decorative broadside printed, and when he arrived in Newfoundland for the conference with the President, he brought two copies to be signed “one for himself and one for the President” (Warren F. Kimball, Forged In War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War, 98). Signed by Roosevelt, “Franklin D. Roosevelt” and Churchill, “Winton S. Churchill.” Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 22 inches by 20.5 inches. The last known example achieved $96,000 in a 2008 auction. Scarce and desirable.

    Price: $150,000.00     Item Number: 125419

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • Rare Isaac Newton Manuscript highlighting his controversial theological views, which were kept hidden for hundreds of years

    NEWTON, Isaac.

    Isaac Newton Original Manuscript.

    Rare full page folio autograph manuscript entirely in the hand of Isaac Newton, father of physics and modern science and author of important texts such as the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Opticks, and many more. One folio page with Newton’s handwriting and emendations on both the recto and verso. While Newton is mostly known for his scientific and mathematical pursuits and is considered to be one of the most influential scientists of all time, his controversial theological views, which were kept hidden for centuries, were as brilliant as his science and an extension of his search for truth. Many believe theology was actually his first love, as he wrote more about religion than he did about science. Of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, he stated, “When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the beliefe of a Deity and nothing can rejoyce me more than to find it useful for that purpose.” He wrote in the Principa, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. . . . This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all. . . . The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.” While he believed in a supreme God, early in his career at Trinity College, his theological research of original texts led him to believe that authentic Christianity had been corrupted by the early church fathers and that the brand of religion that was now accepted as orthodox by the Roman Catholic Church, and to some extent by the Church of England, was not completely true. He discovered that the final phrases of 1 John 5:7  ‘and these three are one’ was not present in any Greek version that he studied and came to the conclusion that it was a deliberate addition to the text to provide justification for the doctrine of the Trinity. He concluded that the orthodox notion of the Trinity was a fictional story that was invented in the early fourth century. This document is very important, as its contents deal with these controversial issues. Written in English and some Latin, he writes concerning an Epistle of Emperor Constantine regarding the Arian debate and the Council of Nicea, which laid out the famous doctrinal statement, the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed was adopted to resolve the Arian controversy. The Arian leader, Arius, a clergyman of Alexandria, “objected to Alexander’s (the bishop of the time) apparent carelessness in blurring the distinction of nature between the Father and the Son by his emphasis on eternal generation.” In reply, Alexander accused Arius of denying the divinity of the Son and also of being too “Jewish” and “Greek” in his thought. Alexander and his supporters created the Nicene Creed to clarify the key tenets of the Christian faith in response to the widespread adoption of Arius’ doctrine, which was henceforth marked as heresy. Because of these views, Newton’s theological writings, were marked “Not fit to be printed.” They were placed in storage and were not made available to the public until the economist John Maynard Keynes and Jewish scholar and businessman, Abraham Yahuda, acquired many of them in 1936. There are very few of these original writings left in private hands, as the majority of the manuscripts are in the permanent collections of the Cambridge University Library, Kings College Library (a gift of John Maynard Keynes), Jewish National and University Library (now National Library of Israel), the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, the Foundation Martin Bodmer in Geneva, and the Grace K. Babson collection now housed in the Huntington Library in California. Matted and framed with both the recto and verso visible. The manuscript measures 11.75 inches by 7.5 inches. The entire piece measures 23.5 inches by 19.5 inches. A scarce piece of history; essential to the collector interested in both Newton’s scientific and theological endeavors.

    Price: $150,000.00     Item Number: 119750

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness": Rare first complete English edition of Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote

    CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de.

    The History of Don-Quixote. The First Parte. The Second Part of the History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant, Don Quixote of the Mancha. Written in Spanish by Michael Cervantes: and now translated into English.

    London: Edward Blount, 1620.

    Exceedingly rare first complete edition in English of Cervantes’ masterpiece comprising the second edition of the first part and the first edition of the second part. Octavo, 2 volumes bound in full 19th century calf, engraved title in each volume. Translated from the original Spanish by Thomas Shelton, his first English translation published in 1612 was the first translation in any language, and took him only forty days to complete. The true first edition of Don Quixote was published in Madrid by Francisco de Robles in two parts in 1605 and 1614. The first part of Shelton’s first English version was published in 1612 with the second part added in 1620, both published in quarto. The present edition is the first complete edition published in the English language with both the first and second parts published and sold simultaneously. Volume one is a second edition with the text block trimmed as usual, in very good condition. Volume two is a first edition, lacking the engraved title as with many copies, and believed to be indicative of an earlier state. “Duff suggested that the reason this plate is lacking in so many copies of the second part is because it was not prepared until after a good many copies had been sold without it” (Pforzheimer 140; Grolier Langland to Wither 213). In near fine condition.

    Price: $150,000.00     Item Number: 130505

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • First edition of Alhazen's fundamental Book of Optics

    ALHAZEN (HASAN IBN AL-HAYTHAM),.

    Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni Arabis. [Alhazen’s Book of Optics].

    Basel: Eusebius Episcopius , 1572.

    First edition of Alhazen’s fundamental work on optics and vision, which influenced Galileo and Kepler and paved the way for the modern science of physical optics. Folio, bound in full contemporary Basel vellum with central arabesques blind-stamped to the front and rear panels, titles stamped in black and five raised bands to the spine, woodcut printer’s device to the title page, woodcut initials, diagrams and full page illustration to the verso of the title page. Translated from Arabic into Latin by Gerard of Cremona. In very good condition. From the library of American physician Chester Tilton Stone with his bookplate to the pastedown. A superior example of this significant work, rare and desirable in contemporary vellum.

    Price: $142,000.00     Item Number: 90395

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • Richard Feynman's Own Copy of the First Editions of The Feynman Lectures On Physics

    FEYNMAN, Richard P.; Robert P. Leighton; Matthew Sands.

    The Feynman Lectures On Physics.

    Reading, Massachusetts/ Palo Alto: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1963-1965.

    First editions of each volume of one of the greatest physics books ever written, Richard Feynman’s personal copy of each volume. Quarto, original red cloth. Volume one is signed on the front free endpaper, “R.P. FEYNMAN CALIF INSTIT. OF TECHNOLOGY PASADENA, CALIF. 795-6811 EXT 2688.” Volume two is signed on the front free endpaper, “OFFICE. R P FEYNMAN.” Each volume is in near fine condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. From the library of Richard P. Feynman. A unique example of one of the most important physics text ever published.

    Price: $125,000.00     Item Number: 130475

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "The longest letter signed and entirely in the hand of John Adams obtainable": Exceptionally rare 16-page autograph letter signed by Founding Father John Adams defending the ultimate necessity of American sovereignty

    ADAMS, John.

    John Adams Autograph Letter Signed.

    1809.

    Exceptionally rare 16-page autograph letter signed by and entirely in the hand of Founding Father John Adams defending the ultimate necessity of American sovereignty and its precedence over international alliances. Sixteen pages, entirely in the hand of John Adams and written on both the recto and verso of each page, the letter is dated January 9, 1809 and addressed to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joseph Bradley Varnum. Although France and America shared a strong alliance which proved crucial to winning the Revolutionary War, at the onset of the French Revolution in 1789, Washington’s fear that American involvement would weaken the new nation before it had firmly established itself created tensions and a new war between England and France broke out in 1793. The British Navy soon began targeting French vessels and trading interests across the Atlantic, and although many Federalists thought that America should aid its ally, Washington proclaimed that the United States would be “friendly and impartial toward the belligerent parties.” The Neutrality Proclamation was ignored by Britain and angered France, which then allowed its navy and privateers to prey on American trade. To protect American sailors and merchants without provoking Britain, in March 1794, Congress passed a 30-day embargo, which it then extended. Britain, the strongest sea power, began to seize American ships suspected of trading with France, and stepped up its practice of impressment. From 1806-1807, the British navy, in desperate need of men to oppose Napoleon, forced roughly 5,000 American sailors into service on the pretense that they were deserters. In 1807, King George III proclaimed his right to call any British subjects into war service and claimed that Britain had full discretion to determine who was a British citizen. The crisis reached one peak for America in June of 1807 when the HMS Leopard attacked the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia. Three American sailors were killed, eighteen were wounded, and the Chesapeake surrendered after firing only one shot. The Leopard seized four American seaman, claimed as deserters from the British navy, and hanged one of them. Jefferson and Madison, his Secretary of State, responded with the Embargo of 1807, a ban on all American vessels sailing for foreign ports. Meanwhile, Russia allied with Napoleon and pressed Denmark to turn over her fleet. In September 1807, Britain preemptively bombarded Copenhagen and seized the Danish-Norwegian fleet. While Jefferson’s Republicans still generally favored France, a schism grew in the Federalist party. Men like Timothy Pickering downplayed impressments while focusing on trade and access to British manufacturing. On October 16, 1807, King George III aggravated already high tensions with American following the British attack of the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia by issuing a Royal Proclamation expanding the British right to impressment (the King’s right to call any British subjects into war service and determine their citizenship). News of the King’s Proclamation arrived in the United States in December 1807 and, lacking military options, President Jefferson proposed an embargo to ban all U.S. exports on American vessels in order to protect American sailors’ lives and liberties, despite its potential to cripple American trade. The Embargo Act was signed on December 22, 1807, causing immediate economic devastation. In protesting the Embargo, rather than wrestling with the difficulty of defending American sovereignty, some opponents chose to declare the legality of impressments as defined by King George’s Royal Proclamation. John Adams’ former Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering, took a leading role in fighting the embargo, arguing that Jefferson was using it to draw America closer to Napoleon’s France. Given the devastating economic effects of the embargo, Pickering’s message found a wide audience. Adams, on the other hand, recognized the dire threat the King’s Proclamation posed in denying America the right to determine its own rules for citizenship and in December, took his arguments to Speaker of the House Joseph Varnum. As he stated in the present letter, “He [Pickering] thinks that as every Nation has a Right to the Service of its Subjects, in time of War, the Proclamation of the King of Great Britain, commanding his Naval Officers to practice Such Impressments, on board, not the Vessells of his own Subjects, but of the United States, a foreign Nation could not furnish the Slightest ground for an Embargo! … But I Say with Confidence that it furnished a Sufficient ground for a Declaration of War. Not the Murder of Pierce nor all the Murders on board the Chesapeake, nor all the other Injuries and Insults We have received from foreign Nations, atrocious as they have been, can be of such dangerous, lasting, and pernicious Consequence to this Country, as this Proclamation, if We have Servility enough to Submit to it.” Adams suggested repealing and replacing the Embargo Act with one that allowed international trade with all but the belligerents, while building up the navy. Varnum asked to publish it. Before assenting, Adams completely reworked his argument, mustering all the reason and rhetoric at his disposal into a stirring defense of sovereignty and citizenship, resulting in the present letter. On March 1, 1809, Congress repealed the Embargo Act, following Adams’ suggestion to replace it with the Non-Intercourse Act which allowed trade with all nations except Britain and France. In fine condition. A remarkable piece of early American history illustrating the second President of the United States’ impassioned devotion to the pursuit of American liberty. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. The longest letter signed and entirely in the hand of John Adams obtainable.

    Price: $125,000.00     Item Number: 121560

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness": Rare first complete English edition of Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote

    CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de.

    The History of Don-Quixote. The First Parte. The Second Part of the History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant, Don Quixote of the Mancha. Written in Spanish by Michael Cervantes: and now translated into English.

    London: Edward Blount, 1620.

    Exceedingly rare first complete edition in English of Cervantes’ masterpiece comprising the second edition of the first part and the first edition of the second part. Small octavo, 2 volumes bound in full calf with red morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, gilt turn-ins, frontispiece portrait of the author to Vol. I, engraved headpieces, tailpieces and initials. Translated from the original Spanish by Thomas Shelton, his first English translation published in 1612 was the first translation in any language, and took him only forty days to complete. The true first edition of Don Quixote was published in Madrid by Francisco de Robles in two parts in 1605 and 1614. The first part of Shelton’s first English version was published in 1612 with the second part added in 1620, both published in quarto. The present edition is the first complete edition published in the English language with both the first and second parts published and sold simultaneously. Volume one is a second edition with the text block trimmed as usual, in very good condition. Volume two is a first edition, lacking the engraved title as with many copies, and believed to be indicative of an earlier state. “Duff suggested that the reason this plate is lacking in so many copies of the second part is because it was not prepared until after a good many copies had been sold without it” (Pforzheimer 140; Grolier Langland to Wither 213) Early ownership signature, most likely Herbert Lunsford located at the head of the errata sheet. Sir Herbert Lunsford (c. 1610-1664) was a military figure and brother to Thomas Lunsford, who is reputed to have been a ruthless pirate and fearless adventurer. There are some who believe that these brothers, along with their brother Henry, served as the models for the Three Musketeers. Catalog entry, handwritten note, and newspaper clipping containing bibliographical information affixed to verso of front board. An exceptional example of this rarity, very rare to find complete.

    Price: $125,000.00     Item Number: 117895

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • “INCOMPARABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE”: THE FOURTH FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE

    SHAKESPEARE, William.

    Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio.

    London: Printed for H. Herringman, and are to be sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders, 1685.

    First edition of the Fourth Folio of Shakespeare. Bound in full brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine. The fourth folio is the final and most magnificent of the four 17th-century folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The Fourth Folio “contains the additional seven plays that first appeared in the 1663 edition [including the authentic Pericles, Prince of Tyre], as well as a good deal of correction and modernization of the text designed to make it easier to read and understand” (Folger’s Choice). Old paper repair to verso of title-page, several other very minor paper repairs. Some browning and minimal staining, a very good example, facsimile frontispiece. As in some other copies, as Greg notes, number of errors in signatures have been corrected in manuscript, presumably at the time of publication. Although there is no accurate census of the number of folios still extant today, it is believed that copies of each printing number only in the hundreds. The rarest form of the fourth folio. This is the rare Knight and Saunders issue, with their names on the title-page. W. W. Greg observes, “Since the title is entirely reset it is presumably a cancel printed after the volume was complete and perhaps republished, and designed for those copies that Herringman chose to issue through his own booksellers” (Greg III, 1121). In 1684, Herringman turned over the retail side of his business to Francis Saunders and his partner Joseph Knight. Fourth Folios almost invariably bear the imprints “Herringman-Brewster-Bentley” or “Herringman-Brewster-Chiswell-Bentley.”

    Price: $100,000.00     Item Number: 5605

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • First edition of the Ian Fleming’s first book Casino Royale; Signed by Him

    FLEMING, Ian.

    Casino Royale.

    London: Jonathan Cape, 1953.

    First edition of the first novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. Octavo, original black cloth. Boldly signed by Ian Fleming on the front free endpaper. From the library of Mrs. Bowker. This example was given by Fleming to his his char-lady. Near fine in a near fine first state dust jacket (without the Sunday Times review on the inner front flap) with some professional restoration to the extremities. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

    Price: $98,000.00     Item Number: 130963

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "One need not be a prophet to be aware of impending dangers. An accidental combination of experience and interest will often reveal events to one man under aspects which few yet see": Rare First English Edition of The Road To Serfdom; Signed by F.A. Hayek

    HAYEK, Friedrich August von [F.A.].

    The Road To Serfdom.

    London: Routledge & Sons, 1944.

    First edition of one of the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism ever published. Octavo, original black cloth. Signed by F.A. Hayek on the title page. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing to the spine tips. The British edition (which this example is) was published in March of 1944, preceding its American counterpart, which was published later that same year in September. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. Rare signed.

    Price: $88,000.00     Item Number: 117650

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • Rare British Army XXX Corps headquarters flag signed by Winston S. Churchill as Prime Minister during an excursion to Europe at the height of WWII

    [CHURCHILL, Winston S.].

    Winston S. Churchill Signed WWII British Army XXX Corps Headquarters Flag.

    Rare British Army XXX Corps headquarters flag signed by Winston S. Churchill as Prime Minister during an excursion to Europe at the height of WWII. Machine-stitched, the flag is signed by Churchill on a wool label affixed to the left arm of Saint George’s Cross. Formed in the Western Desert in September 1941, the British XXX Corps provided extensive service in the North African and Tunisia Campaigns and later served in the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the ultimately unsuccessful Operation Market Garden of September 1944, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Rhineland Campaign. In Normandy, XXX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant-General Gerard Bucknall, was involved in several battles and, on June 10, linked up with U.S. forces advancing from Omaha Beach. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery soon sacked Bucknall due to the XXX Corps’ sluggish performance in Operation Bluecoat, replacing him with Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks, a distinguished veteran of North Africa referred to by Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower as “the outstanding British general under Montgomery.” After the sacking of Bucknall, the performance of XXX Corps improved considerably and it managed to keep up with the other British Corps during the Battle for the Falaise Gap. After the German collapse, XXX Corps quickly advanced north-east and liberated Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium. After this success, XXX Corps, now consisting of approximately 50,000 men, advanced along the main axis of the British Second Army’s line of the offensive to the Dutch/German border, and after the unsuccessful Operation Market Garden launched in an effort to invade Germany, was heavily involved in the fighting that preceded the Rhine crossings. Throughout the war, Churchill made frequent excursions to various fronts, often worrying his supporters and causing critics to complain that he was taking unnecessary risk. Criticism mounted when Churchill visited France only six days after D-Day, eliciting criticism from several key men, including Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower and flying ace Captain Alec Stratford Cunningham-Reid. The signature affixed to the present flag was obtained during one of these visits to the XXX Corps headquarters, under Horrocks’ command, during their extended advance into Germany. In near fine condition. The flag measures 12 feet by 6 feet. The label containing Churchill’s signature measures 7.25 inches by 2.5 inches. A remarkable piece of world history.

    Price: $88,000.00     Item Number: 125064

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • "All human wisdom is contained in these two words--"Wait and Hope": The Manney Copy of the First Edition in English of Dumas’ The Count of Monte-Cristo; In the Rare Original Cloth

    DUMAS, Alexandre [Alexander].

    The Count of Monte-Cristo.

    London: London: Chapman and Hall, 1846.

    First edition in English of the author’s masterpiece, published just one year after the original French edition and before the American first, the Manney copy. Octavo, 2 volumes, original publisher’s terracotta cloth, decoratively blind-embossed, gilt titles to the spine. Twenty wood-engraved plates after Henry Valentin. In near fine condition with only light rubbing to the extremities and toning, with the bookplate of legendary collector Richard Manney. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell and chemise box. A superior example, scarce in the original cloth, with exceptional provenance.

    Price: $82,000.00     Item Number: 129384

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
  • “DEMOCRACY IS ESSENTIALLY A MEANS, A UTILITARIAN DEVICE FOR SAFEGUARDING INTERNAL PEACE AND INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM”: Rare First Edition of THE ROAD TO SERFDOM; INSCRIBED BY F.A. HAYEK

    HAYEK, Friedrich August von [F.A.].

    The Road to Serfdom.

    Chicago: University of Chicago, 1944.

    First edition of one of the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Mr. Allan T. Preyer at the Luncheon of the ‘Ad ‘ Club New York April 11, 1945 with cordial regards of F. A. Hayek.” Near fine in a near fine price-clipped dust jacket. Foreword by John Chamberlain. First editions are rare, presentation copies exceptionally so.

    Price: $82,000.00     Item Number: 130745

    Add to cartAsk a Question Details
Raptis Rare Books | Fine Rare and Antiquarian First Edition Books for Sale