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Letter Written By Charles Darwin Still Up for Grabs

Charles Darwin 1881 (2)

<![CDATA[Lot #224 is described in Nate D. Sander’s auction catalog as “Important Charles Darwin Autograph Letter Signed From 1860 -- Darwin Writes in Detail About His Famous Book: ''...the Origin of Species, of which I am now preparing a corrected edition...'' and had a starting bid price of $69,500. But by the end of the auction on February 25th, no buyer had selected the letter – naturally or otherwise. The letter was expected to become another of several letters by Darwin to have been auctioned off recently. A letter in which the famed naturalist expresses his lack of belief in the Bible was sold in New York for a record setting $197,000, by the British auction house Bonhams. The previous record was $59,142 – the sum paid for a four-page letter Darwin had written to his niece. The five page Nate D. Sanders letter was composed approximately one year after the publication of the book which made Darwin famous, 'On the Origin of Species (1st edition)' in 1859. Origin detailed Darwin’s work regarding the theory of evolution and is even now considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Darwin wrote in the letter to George Charles Wallich about his plans to publish a corrected edition of his book (which he did approximately three weeks later) and stated that he had been deeply impacted by Wallich's research. The letter also thanks the biologist for sending him a copy of his book, 'Notes on the Presence of Animal at Vast Depth in the Sea', which was published in 1860. It goes on to discuss Wallich’s research involving brittle starfish and basaltic pebbles. Darwin was particularly interested in Wallach’s observations of a single-celled organism - foraminifera. In the letter he writes, "The foraminifer deposit was sometimes or often thin; and this is the point on which I am anxious for information – It bears on the decay of the exuviae [exoskeleton remains] of organisms at the bottom of the sea; and is important for me in relation to some few passages in my Book…" "This signed letter concerning deep-ocean discoveries shows Darwin's interest in biological life and geology at the ocean bottom and his meticulous efforts at clarifying the findings of Wallich," Nate Sanders, the auction house owner, said in a statement. "Darwin's attention to details demonstrates why he was such a superb naturalist." The letter was written in black ink on both sides card-style paper (front and back), with a postscript written on a separate, smaller sheet. The auction catalog goes on to describe the letter as being in very good condition overall, with dark writing, folds in the paper, small holes from a removed staple, minor damage at the fold intersections, some toning and discoloration. Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species, (full title: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) introduced the theory (supported by a large body of evidence) that populations (species) evolve by the natural selection of behavioral and/or physical traits which increase their chances of survival over generations. ]]>

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