Antiquarian science books

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Antiquarian science books are original historical works (e.g., books or technical papers) concerning science, mathematics and sometimes engineering. These books are important primary references for the study of the history of science and technology, they can provide valuable insights into the historical development of the various fields of scientific inquiry (History of science, History of mathematics, etc.)

Vesalius, Fabrica, 16th century.

The landmark are significant first (or early) editions typically worth hundreds or thousands of dollars (prices may vary widely based on condition, etc.).[1] Reprints of these books are often available, for example from Great Books of the Western World, Dover Publications or Google Books.

Incunabula are extremely rare and valuable, but as the "scientific revolution" is only taken to have started around the 1540s, such works of Renaissance literature (including alchemy, Renaissance magic, etc. are not usually included under the notion of "scientific" literature. Printed originals of the beginning scientific revolution thus date to the 1540s or later, notably beginning with the original publication of Copernican heliocentrism. Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium of 1543 sold for more than US$2 million at auctions.[2]

List of notable books[edit]

16th century
Newton, Principia, 1600s.
17th century
Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, 1700s
18th century
Lyell, Principles of Geology, 1800s
19th century

20th century (pre-World War II)


  1. ^ prices quoted were apparently collected using sources such as "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2009-07-18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  2. ^ US$2,210,500 at a Christies auction in 2008.
  3. ^ List of scientific publications by Albert Einstein.