A unique book which is an essential part of the collection is entitled “Opticks: Or a Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light.  The Second Edition, with Additions.

London: for W. and J.Innys, 1718.   The old leather binding cover is slightly fragmented. It has raised bands and the remnants of gilt-lettered label on the spine.  It contains 12 folding plates.  All the pages are intact which show many of the old print images.  Some foxing is noticeable.  The book is in very good condition overall but requires a new leather cover.

This book is extremely rare. There are only a few copies remaining which are held in various universities or repositories in England and Scotland.  Various researches have shown that there are only two in private hands.  An identical copy sold in Great Britain recently for a large sum of money.

Newton`s Opticks was first published in 1704.  It aimed “to not explain the Properties of Light by Hypotheses, but to propose and prove them by reason and experiment.”  It was originally in Latin but was translated into English for the second edition.

This is a rare and valuable classic which bears some corrections attributed to Newton`s own handwriting as he usually checked his editions for any errors like this, instead of adding an “erratum.”

On the introductory page of this copy a signature of G.Montgomery inserted with a date of 1732.   The words Ex Libris are handwritten  at the top of the title page.

The signature is certainly not that of the surveyor but probably that of a relative Montgomery of Raphoe Diocese or a Montgomery of Convoy as the book is from either library.

Newton`s original and first edition of Opticks was issued anonymously with only the initials I.N. at the end of the advertisements to indicate the author.

The original issue  of Opticks is valued at more than £50,000.

Copy of the title page of OPTICKS: 1718 (Second Edition)


Sir Isaac Newton