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Charles Darwin’s signed manuscript sells for nearly $900,000 at auction

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  • A signed Charles Darwin manuscript has sold for $882,000 at auction, according to Sotheby’s.
  • Prior to the sale, the most expensive Darwin document sold for just over $400,000, reports the BBC.
  • The manuscript is Darwin’s defense of his theory of natural selection.

A one-page manuscript by scientist Charles Darwin fetched $882,000 at an auction at Sotheby’s on Friday.

Bearing 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 between $600,000 and $800,000, and bidding beat 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 its legacy” and was written for a publication called The Autographic Mirror in October 1865.

The English scientist was well known for believing that 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 was widely accepted as a key element of evolution by scientists.

Darwin defended his famous evolutionary theory against the critics of the time, and the manuscript served as a summary of his philosophy, Sotheby’s said.

The essay begins thus: “I have now recapitulated the principal facts and considerations which have profoundly convinced me that species have been modified, through a long course of descent, by the conservation or natural selection of many slight successive favorable variations.

Prior to the sale, the most expensive Darwin document sold for more than $400,000, according to the BBC. The buyer for the latest sale has yet to be revealed.

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