The title-page of Patrick Matthew’s On Naval Timber and Arboriculture of 1831 sold by McTear’s for £1300.

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The 1831 work by Scottish grain merchant, fruit farmer, landowner and naturalist Patrick Matthew (1790-1824) took £1300.

The work’s significance and appeal lies in an appendix note that appears to anticipate Darwin’s theory of natural selection by almost 30 years, and even uses the expression “natural process of selection”.

That it did so was acknowledged by Darwin in the third and subsequent editions of his Origin of Species, where he noted that Matthew “…gives precisely the same view on the origin of species as that ... propounded by Mr. Wallace and myself”.

Though Matthew offers no scientific evidence for his view in this work, said the cataloguer, he did at one stage have cards printed up identifying himself as “the discoverer of natural selection”.

The McTear’s sale took place on August 10.