News | December 10, 2021

Darwin Letter on the Success of Origin of Species Sells For $144,020 

Courtesy of RR Auction

Boston — A Charles Darwin letter that discussed the success of his book, On the Origin of Species sold for $144,020, according to Boston-based RR Auction.

The two-page handwritten letter signed "C. Darwin," dated January 29, [1860]. In part, the letter to his former teacher, John Stevens Henslow, "The measles has gone like wild-fire through the house, but we are now quit of it. We shall be delighted to see you here, whenever you can spare the time…I shall be particularly glad to hear any of your objections to my views, when we meet. My Book has been far more successful as yet, than I dreamed of—The two last chapters are in my opinion the strongest."

Henslow was a friend and mentor to Charles Darwin, credited with inspiring his passion for natural history. Upon the book's publication on November 24, 1859, Darwin had his publisher, John Murray, forward a copy to Henslow. At that time, Darwin wrote to Henslow, 'I fear…that you will not approve of your pupil in this case,' but requested his thoughts on the work. Henslow indeed had reservations about Darwin's evolutionary ideas but respected the immediate and influential impact of On the Origin of Species. In a May 1860 letter to Joseph Dalton Hooker, Henslow admitted: 'I do not disguise my own opinion that Darwin has pressed his hypothesis too far—but at the same time I assert my belief that his Book is (as Owen described it to me) the 'Book of the Day."

Though much of the correspondence between Darwin and Henslow has been catalogued by the Darwin Correspondence Project, this letter appears to be unpublished.

"It's a remarkable autograph letter by Darwin alluding to the great success of his most important work," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. '

Additional highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:
-Beatles signed 1961 'Top Ten Club' Hamburg pay receipt sold for $80,526.
-Albert Einstein signed letter discussing his Unified Field Theory sold for $75,000.
-Albert Einstein handwritten scientific manuscript for his article 'A Generalization of the Relativistic Theory of Gravitation' sold for $53,504.
-Benjamin Franklin 1787 signed bankruptcy document sold for $34,375.
-Beatles signed photograph from mid-1963 sold for $32,050.
-Elon Musk UPenn marked and graded papers by the future Tesla CEO sold for $7,753.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts featuring Science and Technology from RR Auction began November 19 and concluded December 8. For more information, go to