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MOIVRE, Abraham de.

Annuities upon Lives: or, the Valuation of Annuities upon any Number of Lives; as also, of Reversions. To which is added, an Appendix concerning the Expectations of Life, and Probabilities of Survivorship.


London: Printed by W. P. and sold by Francis Fayram, Benj. Motte, W. Pearson, 1725 Stock Code: 135358
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First edition, the dedication copy, with 4-page printed dedication to Thomas Parker, first earl of Macclesfield. Along with Halley, de Moivre may be considered the founder of actuarial science and a master of probability theory. He was perhaps the first to develop probability theory extensively and the first to use probability theory to write a comprehensive work on life contingencies. In Annuities upon lives de Moivre formulated that among a body of persons over a certain age the successive annual decreases by death are nearly equal. He applied the theory of probability to the systematic investigation of problems concerning annuities upon lives.

"De Moivre's contribution to annuities lies not in his evaluation of the demographic facts then known, but on his derivation of formulas for annuities based on a postulated law of mortality and constant rates on money. Here one finds the treatment of joint annuities on several lives, the inheritance of annuities, problems about the fair division of the costs of a tontine, and other contracts in which both age and interest on capital are relevant. This mathematics became a standard part of all subsequent commercial applications in England." (Ian Hacking in the Dictionary of scientific biography).

Bound following de Moivre's work are the following four actuarial titles:

1. LAURENCE, Edward. A Dissertation on Estates upon Lives and Years, whether in Lay or Church-Hands. With an exact calculation of their real worth, by proper tables, and the reasons for their different valuations. London: James and John Knaption, 1730. Title and a few other pages with marginal soiling, occasional pencil marginalia.First edition. Hanson 4053; Kress 3874.

2. RICHARDS, John. Annuities on Lives, and for Limited Terms of Years, considered: Being Observations on what hath been lately advanced by divers authors, tending to depreciate the value of estates on those tenures. To which is added, a supplement to the Gentleman's steward, and tenants of manors instructed. London: J. Osborn, 1739. First edition, in which Richards replies to a number of his critics, including Weyman Lee, author of the next pamphlet in this volume. Goldsmiths' 7643; Hanson 5251.

3. LEE, Weyman. A Valuation of Annuities and Leases certain, for a single life. With Tables showing at one view the value ofthem, in years, and the eighth part of a year, for every year of life, from the age of 1 to 70, and from thence to the end of life, for every period of five years. At the several rates of 3, 4, 5, and 6 per cent. interest. London: J. Shuckburgh, 1751. Closed tear to title without loss. First edition, in which Lee replies to his critics against his earlier work An Essay to ascertain the Value of Leases and Annuities for years and lives (1738).

Goldsmiths' 8634.

4. BECHER, John Thomas. The Constitution of Friendly Societies, upon legal and scientific principles, exemplified by the rules & tables of calculations, adopted, under the advice and approbation of William Morgan, esq. F. R. S. and William French, Esq. M. A. for the government of the Friendly Institution, at Southwell; together with observations on the rise & progress, as well as on the managment and mismanagement of friendly societies. Second edition. London: W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1824. Errata slip tipped in after title. Second edition, same year as the first, of this collection of tracts, originally intended for the sole use of the member of the Friendly Institution at Southwell. Goldsmiths' 24246.

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Octavo (200 x 123 mm). Bound with four other actuarial titles (see below) in 19th-century half calf and moiré cloth, red morocco spine label, red edges.


Complete with paste-on errata slip at the end. Binder's ticket of Hatton of Manchester to front pastedown, engraved bookplate of the North Library, from the collection of the Earls of Macclesfield at Shirburn Castle.


Spine lightly worn at head; occasional pencil marginalia and the odd mark; a very good copy.


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