Can I borrow eight hundred thousand dollars?

Edward Tufte (he of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information) is auctioning off his library of rare books. And there are some gems in there…

There’s a 16th-century translation of Albrecht Durer’s Art of Measurement ($8k-$12k); a first edition of Johann Bayer’s 1603 collection of stellar maps ($40k-$60k); the first edition of Christiaan Huygens’s Systema Saturnium – his description of the rings and moons of Saturn ($25k-$35k); a couple of spectacular maps from the hand of Edmund Halley ($10k-$20k); a third edition (1726) of Isaac Newton’s Principia ($8k-$12k)… and that’s just in the science department.

From the finance side, there’s a first edition of (inventor of the bar chart) William Playfair’s Commercial and Political Atlas (proof that people were whining about high government debt levels as long ago as 1786, and only $5k-$7k). There’s also two copies of his Letter on our Agricultural Distresses (with his famous chart of wheat prices against wages, $1k-$3k)… John Snow’s On the Mode of Communication of Cholera (his life-saving explication of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak, $10k-$15k) … a collection of Mondrian prints ($8k-$12k) …

And if you’re a fan of Galileo, you’ve got a tough choice: a first edition of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius , his account of the first ever observations through a telescope ($600k-$800k)… or a pirated copy of the same for $4k-$6k.

(Would it be worth more if we could get the author to sign it?)

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