Christie's Auctioning Hawking's Items

Pat Wise
October 25, 2018

One of the most valuable items on sale is one of five original copies of Hawking's PhD thesis, which the auction house predicts will sell for between $130,000 and $195,000. Shortly after it went live, requests to view the research crashed the website, with nearly 60,000 downloads in less than 24 hours.

The thesis "was the fruit of him reapplying himself to his scientific work" after being diagnosed with ALS, Venning said, adding that Hawking "kept it beside him for the rest of his life".

Mr Venning said the wheelchair became a symbol not just of disability but of Professor Hawking's "puckish sense of humour".

A motorized BEC Mobility wheelchair, now on sale on the Christie's website, was one of the many Hawking used during his life.

"Hawking initially resisted the idea of using a wheelchair in the late 1960s; by the late 1970s, he was using motorized models like the present example, and was even renowned for being a rather wild driver", said Christie's.

The physicist's powerchair was made by BEC Mobility and has been dubbed "literally and metaphorically the most-travelled wheelchair in history".

The items include one of Prof Hawking's wheelchairs, which will be sold to benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration and a global celebrity.

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Ms Hawking said Christie's had been helping the family "manage our beloved father's unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings".

A bomber jacket Hawking wore in a 2016 documentary, Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places for the video-on-demand streaming service CuriosityStream, has the lowest starting bid, at £100. This particular episode was aired on September 26, 2010.

His most important papers, including his Black Hole Explosions of 1974, a selection of his medals and awards, a copy of his best-selling book A Brief History Of Time signed with a thumbprint, a bomber jacket, and the script for one of his appearances on The Simpsons are all part of the sale.

Autograph manuscript, notes and extracts from the "Turba philosophorum",[Cambridge, 1670s].

Hawking will be in good scientific company at the auction.

Aside from some of Hawking's possessions being offered, possessions from other famous scientists, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein will be included in the auction.

Christie's "On the Shoulders of Giants: Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking" opens for bidding on Halloween, and concludes on November 8.

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