A FIRST edition of The Wealth of Nations, the renowned work of Scots economist Adam Smith, is expected to fetch around £50,000 when it goes up for auction next week.
An unnamed Scottish family has put the rare book, which is considered to be one of the most important publications on economics, up for sale.
Smith is considered the “father of economics” and only 500 copies of The Wealth of Nations are thought to have been printed in the first edition run in 1776.
The book sets out Smith’s arguments for promoting free trade, challenging the prevailing view at the time that a nation’s wealth was measured by how much gold it held and that imports were harmful. Today, world leaders promote free trade as a matter of course.
The first edition will go on sale at Edinburgh auction house Lyon & Turnbull on Wednesday. Simon Vickers, book specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said the calfskin-bound book was in “pretty good” condition for its age.
He said: “After a spell abroad tutoring Henry Scott, the young Duke of Buccleuch, Smith returned to Kirkcaldy and devoted much of the next ten years to writing his magnum opus
“It was relatively expensive to buy at the time and was considered to be significant very quickly.”