Stephen Hawking's thesis and wheelchair sell for US$1 million

Friday, 2018-11-09 09:52:10
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Fine-art handler Tom Richardson poses with a copy of A Brief History of Time which, has a thumb-print inside by author British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, ahead of an auction of items from Hawkinsg' personal estate at Christie's in Londonhandler. (File photo: Reuters)
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A motorised wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold at auction on November 8 for almost GBP300,000 (US$391,740.00) while a dissertation raised nearly twice that at a sale to raise money for charity.

Famed for his work exploring the origins of the universe, Hawking died in March at the age of 76 after spending most of his life confined to a wheelchair with motor neurone disease.

Some of his belongings including essays, medals, awards and a copy of his book a "Brief History of Time" signed with a thumbprint were sold online on November 8 alongside letters and manuscripts belonging to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Hawking's 117-page dissertation "Properties of expanding universes" from 1965 sold for GBP584,750, well ahead of the estimate of up to 150,000.

Medals and awards sold for GBP296,750, compared with an estimate of GBP15,000, while the red motorised wheelchair sold for GBP296,750, also compared with an estimate of GBP15,000.

Auction house Christies ran the nine-day online auction called "On the Shoulders of Giants" to raise money for the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

It also offered fans of the physicist known for his electronic voice synthesiser a chance to buy some of his possessions.

"Stephen Hawking was a huge personality worldwide. He had this amazing ability to connect with people," Thomas Venning, head of the Books and Manuscripts department at auction house Christie's London, told Reuters ahead of the event.