efe-epaMexico City

A first edition copy of British naturalist Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" fetched a whopping $272,983 this week, auction house Morton said.

The groundbreaking 1859 book was put up for auction on Tuesday at an initial bidding price of $52,083, setting a 30-year record for the Morton's book department, the auction house said in a statement.

The first edition of the work had a print run of 1,250 copies, and the book sold was part of the 23 set aside as gifts for experts and friends.

The book by Darwin (1809-1882) - which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology - was part of an auction specializing in works by explorers and pioneers and was purchased by its previous owner at an auction at Swann Auction Galleries in New York in 1993.