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 193 results

  • “It's in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present": First Edition In Parts of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield; from the library of Steve and Peggy Fossett

    DICKENS, Charles.

    The Personal History of David Copperfield.

    London: Bradbury and Evans, May 1849 - November 1850.

    First edition in the original monthly parts of “the most perfect of all the Dickens novels” (Virginia Woolf). Octavo, original blue-green illustrated paper wrappers, twenty parts in nineteen, frontispiece, vignette title-page and thirty-eight additional inserted plates. In near fine condition, an unrestored example of Dickens’ classic work which is virtually complete with all preliminary advertisements with the exception of the slips after plates parts 9, 13, 14, and 16; all front advertisements in part 11 and the “Household Words” advertisement in part 15. With all of the rear advertisements with the exception of “The Theory of Musical Composition”, “Illustrated Weekly Journal” and “Penny Maps” in part 15, and all advertisements in parts 2 and 8. Housed in two custom full morocco and chemise boxes. From the library of Peggy and Steve Fossett with their bookplate to the pastedown. Scarce and desirable in the original parts which were “much read and roughly handled,” with “fine, clean and unrepaired copies difficult to procure” even in 1932 (Hatton & Cleaver pp.253-272; Sadleir 686; Yale/Gimbel A121).

    Price: $9,800.00     Item Number: 96035

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  • “It's in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present": First Edition In Parts of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield

    DICKENS, Charles.

    The Personal History of David Copperfield.

    London: Bradbury and Evans, May 1849-November 1850.

    First edition in parts of “the most perfect of all the Dickens novels” (Virginia Woolf). Original serial issue. Twenty parts in nineteen, octavo four to thirty-two pages of preliminary advertisements; text continuously paginated 1-624; eight leaves of preliminaries follow text in final part. Frontispiece, vignette title-page and thirty-eight additional inserted plates, the majority with tissue inserts as issued. Original blue-green illustrated paper wrappers. Several backstrips chipped at head and foot; some light soiling, wear at hinges; some parts skewed. In excellent condition, an unrestored example of Dickens’ classic work. Includes  the scarce insert “Lett’s diaries” advertisement at end of Part VIII, which unfolds to a 26 inches, with ten specimen diary leaves. According to Hatton & Cleaver, this is a “particularly scarce” insert. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 253-272.  Housed in a custom half morocco and chemise box. A very nice example.

    Price: $9,800.00     Item Number: 91369

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  • "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind": Rare Original July 21st 1969 Delaware Evening Journal Front Page; Signed by legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong

    ARMSTRONG, Neil.

    Neil Armstrong Signed Delaware Evening Journal.

    Wilmington: Delaware Evening Journal, July 21, 1969.

    Rare original Delaware Evening Journal featuring the headline “Eagle Jets Safely Off Moon; In Orbit for Rendezvous”, a front page article on the Apollo 11 moon landing, and large photograph of Neil Armstrong collecting dirt on the lunar surface. Boldly signed by Neil Armstrong on his photograph. Below the headline is Armstrong’s famous quote, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Articles featured on the front page include, “Neil, Buzz Leave Prints on Moon”, “Kennedy Charged in Crash”, and “Luna 15 Lands On Moon, 500 Miles from LM.” In very good condition. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 29 inches by 21 inches. Rare a desirable signed by Armstrong.

    Price: $4,000.00     Item Number: 100158

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  • Rare collection of Rough Riders Photographs and Documents; Twice signed and inscribed by Theodore Roosevelt

    ROOSEVELT, Theodore.

    Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders Era Document Collection.

    c. 1898.

    Rare collection of original signed documents and photographs taken during President Theodore Roosevelt’s days as Colonel of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, or Rough Riders. The collection includes an original mounted photograph of Roosevelt in full uniform with his campaign hat; two cabinet card photographs of Albert S. Johnson, a member of the Cavalry; an endorsement dated September 7, 1998 which reads in part, “This officer did not serve in Cuba but remained in Florida with the squadron left behind” signed, “T. Roosevelt” which is affixed to the verso of of Albert S. Johnson’s 5 September 1898 application for 60-days leave; and a military record discharging Johnson from the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry with remarks from Captain R.H. Bruce and Theodore Roosevelt, “Did not serve under me personally; is reported to me as a good and loyal officer. T. Roosevelt col 1st U.S.V.” Johnson’s application for leave was ultimately denied as his regiment was about to be disbanded and taken out of service. In near fine condition. An exceptional collection. Documents from Roosevelt’s Rough Rider days are rare.

    Price: $12,500.00     Item Number: 95371

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  • Rare First Edition of Herodotus' Historiae, in Greek


    Historiae, In Greek.

    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 [1995], 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

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    Ethiopian Coptic Ge’ez Bible.

    Ethiopia: C. 18th Century.

    Rare illustrated Ethiopian Coptic Ge’ez Bible. Small octavo, bound in full leather with elaborate tooling stamped in blind to the front and rear panels, braided leather ribbon bound in, parchment manuscript of approximately 120 leaves in black and red ink, with a full-page miniature depicting Madonna and child flanked by two cherubs and double-page spread featuring Saint George slaying the dragon. Housed in the original leather chemise case with leather carrying handle.

    Price: $2,250.00     Item Number: 90405

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  • "The first atlas of the new world": First complete edition in Italian of Ptolemy's La Geographia, the earliest and most comprehensive small-format world atlas published

    PTOLEMY, Claudius.

    Le Geographia di Claudio Ptolemeo Alessandrino, Con alcuni comenti & aggiunte fattevi da Sebastiano munstero, Con le tavole non solamente antiche & moderne solite di staparsi.

    Venice: G. B. Pedrezano, 1547.

    First complete edition in Italian of Ptolemy’s “first atlas of the new world” (Nordenskiöld) and the most detailed and comprehensive world atlas published prior to Ortelius’s Theatrum in 1570. Small octavo, bound in full vellum with gilt morocco spine label, all edges speckled red, woodcut border to the title page, woodcut initials and illustrations throughout the text including a portrait of an astronomer and 60 double-page engraved maps designed by Giacomo Gastaldi. The majority of the 34 maps of the modern world are entirely new first appearances, including 7 maps of the Americas. Among the maps of the Americas is the Nueva Hispania tabula nova which shows the Mississippi and Florida area and is the first separate printed map of the region. Also included is the landmark Tierra Nueva map of the North American coast from Florida to Labrador. In fine condition. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. An exceptional example of this landmark work.

    Price: $35,000.00     Item Number: 95367

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  • Scarce First edition of Commandino's commentary of Ptolemy's Planisphaerium; one of the few extant examples from the Aldine Press in Roman type

    PTOLOMAEUS, Claudius. Edited and with Commentary by Federico Commandino.

    Ptolemaei Planisphaerium. Iordani Planisphaerium. Federici Commandini Urbrinatis in Ptolemaei Planisphaerium Commentarius.

    Venice: Paulus Manutius (Aldine Press), 1558.

    First separate edition and first edition of Commandino’s commentary of Ptolemy’s Planisphaerium, the original Greek text of which is no longer extant. Octavo, two volumes bound into one in eighteenth century vellum, all edges speckled red, Aldine device on both titles and both final pages, woodcut initials, numerous woodcut diagrams. The Ptolemaei is printed in Roman type and the Planisphaerium in Italics; examples from the Aldine Press in Roman type are scarce as the press’s founder, Aldus Manutius, invented the Italic type which he used almost exclusively. The Aldine press was also the first to issue printed books in the small octavo size. After Aldus’ death in 1515 the press was continued by his wife, Maria and her father, Andrea Torresani, until his son, Paulus Manutius (1512–1574) assumed management in 1534. It is from this era that most, if not all, of the works from his press bear the imprint In Aedibus Haeredum Aldi et Andrea Asulani Soceri. In near fine condition with minor marginal dampstaining to a few pages. Exceptionally rare and desirable.

    Price: $8,800.00     Item Number: 95289

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  • "A Major Source for Shakespeare": Second and preferred edition of Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland

    HOLINSHED, Raphael.

    The First and Second Volumes of Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland With: The Third volume of Chronicles, beginning at Duke William the Norman [Holinshed Chronicles].

    London: John Harrison, George Bishop, Rafe Newberie, Henrie Denham, and Thomas Woodcocke, 1587.

    Preferred second edition of the greatest Elizabethan repository of English history which served as an important source for Shakespeare’s plays. Folios, 3 volumes bound into 2, bound in full calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, raised bands, red morocco spine labels, gilt ruled, woodcut initials and title pages. Separate title pages and pagination for The Description and Historie of England, The Description and Historie of Ireland, and The Description and Historie of Scotland comprising volume 1. When this expanded second edition of the Chronicles appeared in January 1587, the Privy Council, responding to Queen Elizabeth’s displeasure at certain passages, ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to recall and censure the work; as a result extensive cancellations (74 pages) were made of offending sections in Volumes II and III. The censors removed “all references to English intervention in Scottish politics, raised the profile of the Earl of Leicester, and distanced England from Elizabeth’s one time suitor, the Duc d’Alençon. Any accounts of trials and executions were altered to ensure proceedings were unequivocally portrayed as being fair and legal” (King’s College London). The work of altering the entire edition of the Chronicles was rather haphazardly carried out, so that the sections affected vary from copy to copy. In this copy all of the offending sections are cancelled or excised. A nice example, scarce and desirable.

    Price: $18,000.00     Item Number: 95438

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  • Rare 1617 Edition of Vesalius's Epitome containing 39 full-page anatomically illustrated plates

    VESALIUS, Andreas. (Thomas Geminus).

    Anatomia in Quat Tota Humani Corporis Fabrica. (Anatomy in Total of the Fabric of the Human Body).

    Amsterdam: Joannes Janssonius, 1617.

    Rare edition of the Epitome of Vesalius, first published in 1543 as an abbreviated dissection room manual to accompany his masterpiece De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). Folio, bound in full contemporary calf, gilt titles and elaborate gilt tooling to the spine, red spine label, raised tooled bands, marbled endpapers, engraved pictorial title page. Engraved portrait of Vesalius, engraved folding plate of  Adam and Eve after that in the epitome before the main text. Containing  39 full-page anatomically illustrated plates, woodcut headpieces and initials. In near fine condition. Captions in both Latin and German, having been otherwise taken directly from Thomas Geminus’ first copy of 1545, Compendiosa Toitus Anatomie Delineato Aere Exarata. German text taken from Baumann’s German edition of 1551 (Keynes, 171; Krivatsy, 12321; Waller, 9919).


    Price: $28,000.00     Item Number: 74638

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  • Rare first edition of one of the earliest chess manuals; Pietro Carrera's Game of Chess

    CARRERA, Pietro.

    Il Gioco De Gli Scacchi Di D. Pietro Carrera Diviso in Otto Libri. (The Game of Chess).

    Militello: Giovanni de' Rossi, 1617.

    Rare first edition of one of the early chess manuals, and the first book printed in Militello at Prince Francesco Branciforte’s private press. Octavo, bound in full contemporary vellum with ink titles to the spine, large engraving of the Branciforte coat of arms opposite the dedication page, woodcut illustrations throughout the text. In near fine condition. First editions are of exceptional rarity, with only three appearing at auction in the past 90 years.

    Price: $25,000.00     Item Number: 96172

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  • Extremely rare first Latin edition of Galileo's revolutionary Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

    GALILEI, Galileo.

    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

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  • First Edition in English of Hugo Grotius' foundational work: On the Law of War and Peace

    GROTIUS, Hugo.

    The Illustrious Hugo Grotius of The Law of Warre and Peace with Annotations in III. Parts and Memorials of the Author’s Life and Death.

    London: Printed for T. Warren and William Lee, 1655.

    First edition in English of Grotius’ foundational work on international law. Small octavo, bound in full contemporary calf with red morocco spine label lettered in gilt, engraved frontispiece portrait of the author. In very good condition. Rare, with no other examples appearing at auction in the last 80 years.

    Price: $22,500.00     Item Number: 111091

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  • Rare First Edition of Mathematical Collections and Translations, which includes the first translation in English of Galileo's System of the World" (Dialogo)

    GALILEI, Galileo; Salusbury.

    Mathematical Collections and Translations.

    London: William Leybourn, 1661.

    First edition of Thomas Salusbury’s Mathematical Collections and Translations. Salusbury compiled and translated important writings by Archimedes, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Tartaglia, Torricelli into English for the first time, greatly influencing the English-speaking world. This volume contains the first English translation of Galileo’s 1632 The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo). Also  included is Galileo’s 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, published in 1636 as Nov-antiqua sanctissimorum patrum et probatorum theologorum doctrina, which asserted the independence of science from religious authority. This short but important Epistle to the Grand Dutchesse Mother concerning the Authority of Holy Scripture in Philosophical Controversies (known today as the Letter to Christina), was only the second work of Galileo’s to be published in England. It preceded the Latin edition, published in London by Thomas Dicas, by two years and remained the only vernacular translation for two centuries. Apart from the two works by Galileo, Salusbury included other translations from Italian and Latin in this volume of his Collections, such as Johannes Kepler’s and Didacus a Stunica’s “Reconcilings of Scripture Texts,” and Foscarinus’ Epistle to Father Fantonus reconciling the Authority of Scripture. Folio, bound in full calf, with 4 engraved plates. Lacking the half-title, contents leaf, fly-title to The System of the World, and the errata leaf found at the end of the first part in some copies. 2 parts in one volume. In very good condition with the contents showing some light browning in the upper margins. First editions are exceptionally rare.



    Price: $38,000.00     Item Number: 73025

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  • Cervantes' Masterpiece Vida, Y Hechos Del Ingenioso Cavallero Don Quixote de la Mancha; Richly illustrated in rare contemporary calf

    CERVANTES, Miguel De.

    Vida, Y Hechos Del Ingenioso Cavallero Don Quixote de la Mancha.

    Antwerp: Por Juan Bautista Verdussen, 1697.

    Finely bound work of Don Quixote, early illustrated Brussels edition, which had been the first in Spanish with illustrations. Octavo, 2 volumes, two frontispieces and 32 full-page engraved plates, bound contemporary calf, richly embossed and tooled, with gilt floral emblems to the spine. In excellent condition. Palau 51998; Peeters-Fontainas 232.

    Price: $4,800.00     Item Number: 95870

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  • "Virtue which is not supported with gravity gains no repute among men": Rare Early edition of The Morals of Confucius; A Cornerstone of Chinese Philosophy


    The Morals of Confucius, A Chinese Philosopher.

    London: T. Horne, 1706.

    Rare second edition in English of The Morals of Confucius. Small octavo, bound in full contemporary sheep contemporary sheep. In very good condition, toning to the extremities.

    Price: $3,200.00     Item Number: 107212

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  • First complete edition in English of The History of Herodotus; translated by Isaac Littlebury


    The History of Herodotus. Translated from the Greek. By Isaac Littlebury.

    London: Printed for Edward Castle and Sam Buckley, 1709.

    First complete edition in English of Littlebury’s translation of the histories of Herodotus, also the first appearance in English since Thomas Marshe’s 1584 incomplete translation of only the first two books. Octavo, two volumes. Bound in full contemporary calf with gilt titles and tooling to the spine in six compartments within raised bands, red morocco spine labels, stamped ruling, all edged speckled red, woodcut ornaments to the title pages and colophon of volume II, index. From the library of George Paterson of Castle Huntly with his armorial bookplates to the pastedowns. After amassing a large fortune with the East India Company, Paterson purchased the famed Scottish Castle Huntly in 1770. In very good condition. Rare and with noted provenance.

    Price: $7,500.00     Item Number: 96521

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