30 April 2008,
London, King Street
Price Realised GBP 1,375
MOIVRE, Abraham de (1667-1754). The Doctrine of Chances: or, a Method of Calculating the Probabilities of Events in Play. London: for A. Millar, 1756.
4° (290 x 227mm). Engraved medallion portrait of the author, reproducing Dassier's 1741 medal, on title, headpiece by J. Mynde, tailpiece and initial, type-ornament decoration and metalcut initial. (Faint spotting in a few leaves.) Sprinkled calf of c.1796, narrow Greek-key gilt border on sides, flat spine gilt, Neville badges of a Tudor rose and a portcullis, each surmounted by an Earl's coronet, as supralibros and on spine labels (rubbed, rebacked and retaining original backstrip, expert repairs at corners). Provenance: [George Neville, Earl of Abergavenny (1727-85; binding)] -- "F. Foljambe" "examination prize, St. John's Coll., Cant." (title inscription).
The third and fullest version of de Moivre's important work on the theory of probability, together with his final, improved version of his Annuities upon Lives. In the Doctrine de Moivre set out "a series of algebraic and analytic tools for the theory of probability ... which foreshadowed Boolean algebra" (ODNB) and other concepts. His work on annuities was pioneering and influenced Lagrange and Laplace. The badges on the binding were used by the Nevill family, and specifically by George Nevill, Earl of Abergavenny (cf. Davenport, English Heraldic Book-Stamps, p.303). Kress 5546.
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