Sunday 01 August 2021

First edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations turns up in Dutch parliament

A first edition of Scottish economist Adam Smith’s standard work The Wealth of Nations (1776) has been found in the library of the Dutch houses of parliament.

The two-volume publication turned up while archivists were cataloguing parliament’s book collection and was found next to a copy of Karl Marx’ Das Kapital, book historian Alex Alsemgeest told MPs at Thursday’s presentation.

Alsemgeest told NOS the book is not particularly rare but is ‘the Holy Grail under American collectors’ and could be worth up to €250,000.

Dozens of other rare books have also been found during the research. ‘The books and pamphlets from pre 1800 reflect the history of how the modern Netherlands was formed,’ parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib said. ‘This historic collection  gives a glimpse into the origins of the lower house of parliament.’

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