Peter Harrington Rare Books (@PHRareBooks) launches new Economics, Politics and Philosophy catalogue


Peter Harrington, the UK’s largest rare book seller has recently published a catalogue featuring 248 fascinating books and manuscripts on Economics, Politics and Philosophy including Mathematics, Logic and Computing. It  offers a wide range of items from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Prices range from £200 to £150,000.

Highlights of this catalogue include:


In the field of economics, there are works from the age of mercantilism by authors such as Josiah Child, William Petty and Andrew Yarranton. Early 18th century texts preceding Adam Smith’s classical text, are represented by such rare works as David Hume‘s Political Discourses, in which can be found the foundation of classical monetary economics, and Jacob Vanderlint‘s Money Answers All Things, the first scientific study of the question of distribution. Daniel Defoe offers advice on how to trade, warning about the dangers of borrowing – he himself had been a bankrupt – and recommending the involvement of a spouse in business.

Classical works are presented with those of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus and John Stuart Mill to mention but a few, including an unpublished autograph letter by Adam Smith in which he amusingly remarks “I once had the vanity to flatter myself that I was the only Adam Smith in the world; but to my unspeakable mortification, there are two or three others of the same name in this town.

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). First edition of “the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought” in two volumes. £150,000. Plus a newly discovered unpublished two and a half page autograph letter by Adam Smith (1783) discussing customs, smuggling and “our future commercial connexions with our thirteen revolted colonies.” £75,000

Continental authors include Turgot, Isnard, whose Traite des richesses offers one of the most important contributions in the history of the development of mathematical economics, and Karl Marx.


Karl Marx, A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production (1877) – first edition in English, two volumes, very scarce and important printing. £5,250

Modern authors include Hayek, Keynes, Henry Hazlitt, and Ludwig von Mises, whose libertarian views have influenced many of today’s leading figures. There are additionally works on finance and speculation, by such noted authors as Charles Mackay, Edwin Lefevre, John Law and R.N. Elliott, the father of the wave principle.


In Politics, there are works by early authors such as John of Salisbury, whose Policraticus has been described as “the first medieval treatise on political thought.” Thomas Hobbes‘s Leviathan and James Harrington‘s Oceana examine political theory and the foundations of government. Algernon Sidney and James Burgh consider political freedoms, and in the nineteenth century, there are major American works by John Adams, William Harrison and Abraham Lincoln, all signed or inscribed.

Modern politicians and statesmen include Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Lloyd George, Enoch Powell and Harry S. Truman.

Mahatma Gandhi, Non-Violence in Peace and War (1942) – a very good copy, first edition owned and inscribed by Martin J Hillenbrand an American diplomat who served as vice consul to India. £2,250

David Lloyd George, The Truth about the Peace Treaties (1938) – first edition of the publisher’s archive two volumes copy which is decidedly uncommon in the dust jackets. £325


The highlight of the philosophy selection comprises a presentation copy of Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus, inscribed by him to Ludwig Hänsel, one of his closest friends. The catalogue includes works by Montaigne, Hobbes, Bentham, Hume, and several other authors of the Scottish Enlightenment. Rousseau, Condorcet and Voltaire are representative of French Enlightenment authors.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (probably c.1695-1702) – definitive edition of one of the most famous books of the 17th century. £6,500

Modern philosophers include Austin, Derrida, Jaspers and Bertrand Russell, with works on mathematics and logic by Jevons, Ramsey and Marquand, early pioneers of computing.

The catalogue is available to download at

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