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The 10 Rarest Books in the World

By Becky Ferreira Apr 26, 2013

9 of 11

Copernicus's On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres

The realization that the sun is the center of the solar system was arguably the largest paradigm shift in history. It affected every cultural institution, from science to religion to philosophy. In fact, it was such a huge upheaval that the man responsible for it, the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, chose to delay publishing his work until he was on his deathbed so he wouldn't have to deal with the fallout. That was wise, because Copernicus was posthumously accused of heresy a whole ton. As Copernican trailblazers Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei would discover, being charged with heresy is no joke, and many scientists literally died for the Copernican model of the solar system. However, the cat could not be forced back into the bag, and many historians credit this enormous revelation as being the catalyst for the Scientific Revolution. There are 260 surviving copies of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, each worth between $1-2 million. Most of them are safe in museums.

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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