Lot 139
  • 139

Smith, Adam

90,000 - 120,000 USD
173,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • paper
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776

2 volumes, 4to (11 x 8 1/2 in.; 280 x 215 mm). Half-title in volume 2, publisher's advertisement on last page of volume 2; light edge-stain to title from binding, a few light spots in the margins of quires 3B-3C. Contemporary mottled calf, in a brown cloth drop-box; vol. 1 rebacked with original spine laid down, vol. 2 joints cracked, a few stains, corners and edges torn.


Alexander Baxter (engraved armorial bookplate).  Acquisition: Pickering and Chatto


PMM 221; Goldsmiths 11392; Kress 7621; Rothschild 1897; Sabin 82303

Catalogue Note

First edition of the "first and greatest classic of modern economic thought"(PMM).

"Every individual ... generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention" (IV, chap. 2).

"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 ..." (Oxford DNB). By undermining mercantilist theory, Smith makes the strongest economic argument against the suppression of the American colonies.

A handsome copy.