- A signed Charles Darwin manuscript sold for $882,000 at auction, Sotheby’s says.
- Prior to the sale, the highest-priced Darwin document sold for just over $400,000, BBC reports.
- The manuscript is Darwin’s defense of his natural selection theory.
A one-page manuscript from scientist Charles Darwin fetched a whopping $882,000 at a Sotheby’s auction on Friday.
Donned with Darwin’s signature at the bottom, the piece of paper set a record for the most expensive Darwin item ever sold, the BBC reported. The document was estimated to sell for $600,000 to $800,000, and bidding surpassed expectations by closing at a price closer to $900,000.
According to Sotheby’s, the manuscript is Darwin’s “definitive statement on natural selection and his legacy” and was written for a publication called The Autographic Mirror in October 1865.
The English scientist was well known for believing all living creatures descended from a common ancestor and evolved through the process he called natural selection. After his death in 1882, the theory of natural selection went on to become widely accepted as a key part of evolution by scientists.
Darwin defended his famous evolutionist theory against critics at the time, and the manuscript served as a summation of his philosophy, Sotheby’s said.
The essay begins: “I have now recapitulated the chief facts and considerations, which have thoroughly convinced me that species have been modified, during a long course of descent, by the preservation or the natural selection of many successive slight favourable variations.”
Prior to the sale, the most expensive Darwin document sold for over $400,000, according to the BBC. The buyer in the latest sale has yet to be disclosed.