Stephen Hawking's wheelchair auctioned for a whopping $393,000

Mindy Sparks
November 11, 2018

- The auction house Christie's sold one of the five existing copies of the doctoral thesis of Stephen Hawking, reaching a figure of 760 thousand dollars, nearly four times its estimated value (between 130 and 195 thousand Dollars).

Auction house Christie's ran the auction called "On the Shoulders of Giants" to raise money for the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Hawking's items all combined sold for about $1,306,275 at the auction.

"The results of this remarkable sale, with more than 400 registered bidders from 30 different countries, demonstrate the enormous admiration and affection with which Stephen Hawking was viewed around the world", according to a statement from Thomas Venning, head of books and manuscripts for Christie's, and James Hyslop, head of science and natural history.

When the thesis "Properties of Expanding Universes" was published on the internet for free in 2017, the demand was so great that it caused the collapse of the portal of the University of Cambridge. It was sold for $760,000.

Hawking completed his thesis in 1965 after a turbulent and tragic start to his career as a theoretical physicist. All of those were sold, and the total, about US$1.8 million, was seven times more than had been predicted.

Stephen Hawking published his thesis in 1965, two years after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which would eventually leave him paralysed.

A script for his appearance on The Simpsons sold for £6,250.

When the document was made available online previous year by Cambridge University, where Hawking spent his career, it was so popular that it crashed the website.

There was also a collection of his medals and awards available to prospective buyers, and they went for £296,750.

Prof Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time, which he signed with a thumbprint in 1988, sold for £68,750, way above the £3,000 guide price. Along with inclusion of Hawking's personal belongings, the auction also included belongings linked to scientists including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, wrote The Guardian. Hawking's daughter, Lucy, oversaw the auction. The scientist died 14 March 2018 at his home in Cambridge.

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