Rare Philosophy Books for Sale Online
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“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied": Rare First Edition of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism; Signed by Him
London: Parker, Son and Bourn, 1863.
First edition of the author’s landmark work. Octavo, original cloth, publisher’s advertisements. Presentation copy, signed by John Stuart Mill on the title page, “From the author.” From the library of Helen and William Belknap with their bookplate to the pastedown and his ownership stamp. William Burke Belknap was an economist and a professor of economics at the University of Louisville. Leading up to and during World War II, he volunteered for service with the Red Cross in Ramsay and Plymouth, England. A trustee of Berea College and a graduate of Yale and Harvard, he served two terms as a representative in the Kentucky General Assembly. We cannot trace another signed first edition in the past 100 years. Rare and desirable.
Price: $72,000.00 Item Number: 124105
"The most important scientific book of 18th century America": Rare First Complete Edition of Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America
Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America, By Benjamin Franklin, L.L.D. and F.R.S. To which are added, Letters and Papers on Philosophical Subjects. The Whole corrected, methodized, improved, and now first collected into one Volume, and Illustrated with Copper Plates.
London: Printed for David Henry and sold by Francis Newbery, 1769.
First complete edition of “the most important scientific book of 18th-century America” and “America’s first great scientific contribution” (PMM). Octavo, bound in full contemporary calf with gilt ruling to the spine in six compartments within raised bands, red morocco spine label lettered in gilt, double gilt ruling to the front and rear panels. With the rarely found half-title. Advertisement & errata leaf bound in following the preface. Illustrated with 7 copper-engraved plates, 4 of which are folding. This, the fourth, first complete, and most desirable edition of Franklin’s important work contains for the first time complete notes on all of the experiments as well as correspondence between Peter Collinson, Franklin, and several other collaborators. The earlier editions, each issued in three parts as separately published pamphlets usually bound together, were carelessly published. Franklin edited this new one-volume edition himself, significantly revising the text, adding for the first time a number of his own philosophical letters and papers, introducing footnotes, correcting errors, and adding an index (Cohen, Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments). In near fine condition. Expertly rebacked. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box.
Price: $45,000.00 Item Number: 125438
Venice: Aldus Manutius, September, 1502.
Rare first edition of Herodotus‘ history of the Persian Wars, one of the most important texts edited by the great scholar-printer-publisher. Folio, bound in contemporary vellum, woodcut title in Greek and Roman letter, verso with dedication in Latin, text in Greek letter throughout with spaces for capital letters, woodcut device on title and last page. Aldus claims in the dedication that he corrected the text from multiple exemplars, one of the few instances where such a claim by him is justified and can be verified. He was the first to have access to the ‘Florentine’ codices, where Valla had used the so-called Roman family of manuscripts for his translation. The printer’s copy was discovered in Nuremberg by Brigitte Mondrain in 1993 (Scriptorium 49 , pp. 263-273). The History was designed to match the Aldine Thucydides of four months earlier: they share a paper stock, all types and the number of lines per page. Ahmanson-Murphy 50; Isaac 12782; Laurenziana 64; Renouard, Alde 35:8; Sansoviniana 67. In excellent condition with light rubbing and wear, bookplates to the pastedown, some light toning to the text, occasional Greek and Latin annotations in a c.17th-century hand, small repairs to the final four leaves. An exceptional example of this landmark work, rare and desirable in contemporary vellum.
Price: $32,000.00 Item Number: 96588
Extremely rare first Latin edition of Galileo's revolutionary Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
Systema Cosmicum in Quo Quatuor Dialogis, de Duobus Maximis Mundi Systematibus, Ptolemaico et Copernicano. [Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems].
Strasbourg: D. Hauttius for the Elzevir, 1635.
Rare first Latin edition of Galileo’s epoch-making Dialogo, the summation of the extraordinary mathematician’s astronomical thought and the work which directly precipitated his 1663 trial and judgement for heresy. Preceded only by the 1632 edition in Italian. Small octavo, bound in full contemporary vellum, engraved additional title page, full page engraved frontispiece portrait of Galileo by Jacob van der Heyden, woodcut diagrams, with the final leaf of errata. This Latin edition includes two tracts in the appendix not in the Italian edition of 1632, and it is the only major work of Galileo’s to be published outside Italy during his lifetime. The two added Latin tracts are the introduction to Kepler’s Astronomia nova (pp. 459-464), and a letter by Paolo Antonio Foscarini defending the truth of Copernicanism and rebutting the charge that it conflicted with scripture (pp. 465-495). With the appendix by P.A. Foscarini which contains an attempt to reconcile the Copernican views with the Holy Scripture. In near fine condition. Exceptionally rare, as the work was rigidly suppressed from the start.
Price: $28,000.00 Item Number: 93890
Philadelphia: C. Sherman, 5605, 1845-46.
First edition of the “first English translation of the Pentateuch in America,” the 1845 Hebrew-English Bible by one of the most prominent and influential figures in American Jewish history. Octavo, 5 volumes. Translated by Isaac Leeser. Bound in contemporary polished calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, rebacked. Lightly rubbed, moderate wear. A very nice example of a scarce and important work.
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 49020
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat": Rare First Edition of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich; Signed by Him
CT: Ralston Society, 1937.
First edition of this classic bestseller, which has sold over 100 million copies. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Napoleon Hill on the front free endpaper. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. This is the first example of a first printing we have seen signed. Rare and desirable.
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 89533
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves": First Edition of Viktor Frankl's Classic Work Man's Search For Meaning; Signed by Him
Boston: Beacon Press, 1959.
First edition in English of Frankl’s classic work, which was later titled Man’s Search For Meaning in 1962. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Viktor Frankl on the title page. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Translated by Ilse Lasch. Preface by Gordon Allport. Originally published in German, in 1946 under the name Ein Psycholog erlecbt das konzentrationslager. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Signed first editions are exceptionally rare and desirable.
Price: $22,000.00 Item Number: 105790
Rare second Latin edition of Galileo's revolutionary Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
Systema Cosmicum in Quo Quatuor Dialogis, de Duobus Maximis Mundi Systematibus, Ptolemaico et Copernicano. [Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems].
Lyon: Joannes Antonius Huguetan, 1641.
Rare second Latin edition of Galileo’s epoch-making Dialogo, the summation of the extraordinary mathematician’s astronomical thought and the work which directly precipitated his 1663 trial and judgement for heresy. Preceded by the 1632 edition in Italian and 1635 first Latin edition. Octavo, bound in full contemporary vellum, engraved title page, full page engraved frontispiece portrait of Galileo by Jacob van der Heyden, woodcut diagrams, with the final leaf of errata. The Latin edition includes two tracts in the appendix not in the Italian edition of 1632, and it is the only major work of Galileo’s to be published outside Italy during his lifetime. The two added Latin tracts are the introduction to Kepler’s Astronomia nova (pp. 459-464), and a letter by Paolo Antonio Foscarini defending the truth of Copernicanism and rebutting the charge that it conflicted with scripture (pp. 465-495). With the appendix by P.A. Foscarini which contains an attempt to reconcile the Copernican views with the Holy Scripture. In near fine condition. From the library of French geophysicist, astronomer and most notably, chronobiologist, Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan (1678-1771), with his signature to both title pages. Over the course of his scientific career, de Mairan was elected into numerous scientific societies and made key discoveries in a variety of fields including ancient texts and astronomy. His observations and experiments also inspired the beginning of what is now known as the study of biological circadian rhythms. In 1731, he published “Traite Physique et Historique De l’Aurore Boreale” (a short summary appeared in the Philosophical Transactions) in which he put up a novel hypothesis that the Northern Lights are caused by the Sun, as the interaction of the atmosphere with the zodiacal light. At the time, the aurorae were thought to be ‘flames’ caused by sulfurous effluvia emanating from the Earth. Bookplate to the pastedown. Exceptionally rare, as the work was rigidly, suppressed from the start.
Price: $20,000.00 Item Number: 125993
Original signed artwork from Thomas Merton. In the last decade of his life, while living as a hermit-monk in dialogue with the world, Thomas Merton created a body of visual art, drawing from the Zen Buddhist tradition. When he was a student at Columbia University, Merton sought out a Hindu monk named Bramachari for counsel. The monk advised Merton to follow his own Christian tradition to find what he was most deeply looking for. A strong admirer of Gandhi, Merton also noted how Gandhi, a Hindu, had found a congenial ‘ second home’ of sorts in the Christian Sermon on the Mount. In the 1950’s Merton began exploring Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism. He thought he found some resonance between Zen and the Desert Fathers. Merton sent a copy of his study of the Desert Fathers to Daisetsu Suzuki, the leading exponent of Zen in the west. They began a long correspondence in the late 1950’s, and Suzuki’s influence can be seen in Merton’s artwork. Includes a letter from activist W.H. Ferry, which reads, “4/3/68 For Mary Sue Dilliard: Daisetsu Suzuki told Father Tom Merton in 1965 that the only way finally to understand Zen was to practice calligraphy. This is the result: one of Tom’s earliest calligraphs. W.H. Ferry.” On the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions letterhead, which Ferry was the Vice President. Matted and framed, which measures 13 inches by 15 inches. Calligraphy drawing measures 9 inches by 12.5 inches. On the verso of the frame, it includes various Merton material including numerous clippings. Original artwork by Merton is exceptionally rare in the marketplace.
Price: $20,000.00 Item Number: 17032
“The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream": Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet; lengthily inscribed by him
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923.
First edition, early printing of the author’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth, with illustrations by the author. Association copy, lengthily inscribed by Kahlil Gibran on the title page, “This is for Elenor Fisch, who lives in the world of beautiful understanding. Kahlil Gibran, 1926.” From the library of D. Rajagopal with his library stamp to the front pastedown. Rajagopal was the lifelong friend and editor of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, the leader of the Theosophy movement in the early 20th century, and one of its most famous figures. In his teachings, Krishnamurti stressed the necessity for a revolution of human consciousness, which could only occur with radical religious, political, and social change. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable signed and with noted provenance.
Price: $19,500.00 Item Number: 96203
“In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority": First Edition of F.A. Hayek's The Road To Serfdom; In the Rare Original Dust Jacket
London: Routledge & Sons, 1944.
First British edition of one of the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism ever published. Octavo, original black cloth. Very good in the rare original dust jacket with some rubbing and wear to the extremities. The British edition was published in March of 1944, preceding its American counterpart, which was published later that same year in September. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 105942
Philadelphia: C. Sherman, 5605, 1845-46.
First edition of the “first English translation of the Pentateuch in America,” the 1845 Hebrew-English Bible by one of the most prominent and influential figures in American Jewish history. Octavo, 5 volumes. Translated by Isaac Leeser. Bound in full contemporary calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine. In near fine condition. A nice example, rare in contemporary binding.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 78547
Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1960.
First edition of Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by F.A. Hayek on the title page. Fine in a near fine dust price-clipped jacket with a few small closed tears. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $18,000.00 Item Number: 99700
“Only the refusal to listen guarantees one against being ensnared by the truth": Rare First Edition of Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia; Signed by Him
New York: Basic Books, 1974.
First edition of the author’s foundational text in classic liberalism thought. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Robert Nozick on the half-title page. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Signed first editions are exceptionally rare; this is the first example we have seen or handled.
Price: $16,000.00 Item Number: 35003
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human": Exceptionally Rare First Edition in English of Aristotle's A Treatise on Government
London: T. Payne, 1776.First edition in English of this important work on government by Aristotle. Quarto, bound in three quarters leather over marbled boards. In very good condition with light toning to the text and wear. Bookseller plate of George Gregory, Bath, Sept. 22, 1936 on the front pastedown. Translated by William Ellis. First editions are rare, with the last example appearing at auction in 1914.
Price: $16,000.00 Item Number: 81182
"what first attracts our interest in the person of Moses is his name": First Edition of Freud's Moses And Monotheism; Inscribed by Him To His Niece
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939.
First American edition of last book written and published in Sigmund Freud’s lifetime. Presentation copy, inscribed on the front free endpaper, “To dear Poppy from Uncle Sigm. London 1939.” The eldest daughter of Freud’s elder brother, Philipp, Pauline “Poppy” Freud was born in 1873 when Sigmund was seventeen years old. Freud visited Pauline and her parents in Manchester, England periodically throughout her childhood and maintained correspondence with Pauline well into her adulthood, visiting her and her husband, Frederick Oswald Hartwig, in London in 1939. Near fine in a very good dust jacket with some wear to the extremities. Housed in a custom clamshell box. Freud association copies of this magnitude seldom enter the marketplace.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 67018
"Mary Baker Eddy was far ahead of her time in the emphasis she placed upon positive thinking, a force which modern psychology was belated in recognizing": Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; inscribed by her to her cousin, the daughter of President Franklin Pierce
Boston: Published by the Author, 1886.
Early printing of the central text of the Christian Science which continues to rank as a best-seller to this day. Octavo, bound in contemporary three quarters morocco over marbled boards, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, marbled endpapers, all edges marbled. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the second free endpaper in the year of publication, “Mrs. F. McNeil Potter, with love from the Author, 1886.” The recipient, Frances Maria McNeil Potter was the niece of President Franklin Pierce and his sometimes hostess in the White house, assisting First Lady Jane Pierce after the death of the president’s son Benny. In the winter of 1882, Mary Baker Eddy visited Washington, where “Mrs. Potter caller on [her] several times and showed considerable interest in Christian Science. Together they drove to the Botanical Gardens, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Congressional Cemetery where they knelt at the grave of General John McNeil, Mrs. Potter’s father and the cousin of Mrs. Eddy’s grandmother, Maryann McNeil Moore” (Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery). Potter and Eddy’s correspondence continued until Potter’s death and Potter remained one of Eddy’s biggest supporters when many distanced themselves from the religious leader and the founding of the Church of Christ, Scientist. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Books signed and inscribed by Mary Baker Eddy are rare.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 90463
Rare large etching of Albert Einstein done by well-known artist Erich Buttner. Signed by both Einstein and Buttner. In fine condition. Double matted and framed, the entire piece measures 12.25 inches by 15 inches. An exceptional piece. In the 1920s he created a series of portraits of his friends and fellow artists including Lovis Corinth, George Grosz, Arno Holz and Heinrich Zille. He produced a very fine book of exlibris (bookplates) in Berlin 1921. This book contains the exlibris of Albert Einstein 1917, probably Einstein’s only bookplate. The etching measures 12.5 inches by 9.5 inches. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 18.75 inches by 15.75 inches.
Price: $14,000.00 Item Number: 112748
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety": Rare First Edition of Benjamin Franklin's Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces
Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces; Arranged under the Following Heads and Distinguished by Initial Letters in each Leaf: General Politics; American Politics before the Troubles; American Politics during the Troubles; Provincial or Colony Politics; Miscellaneous and Philosophical Pieces.
London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1779.
First edition of “the only edition of Franklin’s writings (other than his scientific) printed during his lifetime” (Ford). Octavo, bound in three quarters leather, gilt titles to the spine, raised bands. With the engraved frontispiece portrait of Franklin, three engraved plates (one folding), and folding table of the reformed alphabet. In near fine condition. Complete with index, addenda and corrigenda. A very nice example.
Price: $14,000.00 Item Number: 125950
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”: Presentation Copy of The First Edition of Stephen Hawking's The Universe In A Nutshell
London: Bantam, 2001.
First British edition of Hawking’s sequel to A Brief History of Time. Quarto, original boards, illustrated. Presentation copy, with Stephen Hawking’s thumbprints on the title page. Witnessed by K. Thurkettle, and dated 21.07.14 and inscription from Hawking in Thurkettle’s hand, “To Jimmy Bridson “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet…” Fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $13,500.00 Item Number: 102988