Sale 322 Lot 64
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776.
2 vols. 4to, rebound in quarter calf over marbled boards, gilt-lettered spines, renewed endpapers. Housed in brown cloth slipcase. First edition, with half-title in volume II only as issued and publisher's advertisement to verso of p. 587 at end of volume II.
This is the first edition of "the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought." (PMM) In it, Adam Smith discusses the division of labor, productivity, and free markets. "The Wealth of Nations had no rival in scope or depth when published and is still one of the few works in its field to have achieved classic status, meaning simply that it has sustained yet survived repeated reading, critical and adulatory, long after the circumstances which prompted it have become the object of historical enquiry. As philosopher Smith had taken up the challenge of providing an 'imaginary machine' that would render coherent the everyday appearances of an emerging world." (Oxford D.N.B.)
Fading and light wear to slipcase; ex-library copy with "Library University of Illinois, Urbana" blind-stamp to title page, contents leaves A2-A3, B1, pp. 147-154, and pp. 499-510, vol. 1, and title page and B1, vol. 2; inventory stamp in green to A2, vol. 1 and B1, vol. 2; contents leaves A2-A3 detached from vol. 1; minor chipping at gutter of title page, vol. 1; half-title creased with two 2-inch tears along fold, vol. 2; 5-1/4 x 2-inch tear to bottom right corner of p. 67, vol. 1; intermittent light brownspotting; text block leaning, vol. 2; darkening to some leaves at extremities.
Estimate $ 60,000-80,000
Property from the Collection of the DeBruyn Family, Holland, Michigan
PMM 221; Grolier, 100; English, 57; Kress 7261; Rothschild 1897; Sabin 82303, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.