Today we have a deep dive into a first edition copy of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, more commonly referred to as Principia.
It IPOs on Rally Rd 7th May 2021 at noon EST.
What is the Principia (1st Edition)?
Published in 1687, this is a first edition copy of Isaac Newton’s revolutionary work describing his three laws of physics. Among first editions, there were two variants. The continental copy, of which this book is an example , is the rarer of the two. It’s estimated that around 50 exist (and perhaps 340 of the other variant).
It’s had some minor restoration work done but is in good shape otherwise.
Of minor interest, this book has been sat on Rally’s shelf, so to speak, since May 2020.
The book itself appears to have been sold at at auction November 2019 alongside a number of other interesting works — most notably a First Edition Origin of the Species. That buyer then sold the book on to Rally in May 2020 for a tidy 20% profit.
Strangely (unless I’ve missed something), it looks like Rally didn’t include the sale at auction as a comp.
It IPOs on Rally at noon EST on 7th May for $300k. There is no retained equity.
Add IPO to calendar
If you’re into science (or you know, gravity), this is probably one of the most important books ever written.
In it, Newton lays out his three laws of motion:
Inertia – an object at rest will stay at rest. An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by a net external force.
F = MA – force is equal to mass times acceleration.
Conservation – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In Principia, Newton showed that the same rules apply here on earth as do in space.
Until Einstein came along with his theory of relativity (special and otherwise), this work was arguably (looking askew at Darwin) the most important and meaningful scientific advancement ever. And really Einstein was just building on what Newton wrote.
Principia stands alongside The Iliad, The Bible, Plato’s Republic, The Quran, Canterbury Tales, and others as one of the 50 books that most changed the world. Others go further, saying it’s the most important book published in modern European history. Others go still further, calling it the most influential book ever written.
But…we’re not talking about how influential or important the book is; we’re talking about its cultural relevance. And perhaps unsurprisingly for a book of unspeakable importance that is actually very dry for today’s kids to read, it’s off the charts in terms of search results but bang average for monthly searches.
And by the way, that’s less than 10% of the Google search results for Batman. Kids today, eh.
Inferred Value – $200k to $350k
The rare books category had a 15% ROI in Q1 2021.
Asset Growth TTM
Growth Outlook and Future Catalysts
There are only around 50 of these out there, and many are in museums and university libraries. I wouldn’t expect this to double in twelve months, but with only a few copies coming to market every ten years, supply will always be miniscule.
This will have a roughly 90 day lockup period then will trade quarterly.
“What goes up must come down.” I think Rally is trolling us.