Monday, 19 November, 2018

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair and thesis up for sale as part of auction

Documents and files by Stephen Hawking the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking at the auction house Christies in London Friday Oct. 19 2018. The online auction announced Monday Oct. 22 2018 by auctioneer Christie’s features 22 item Stephen Hawking's most prized possessions go under the hammer
Theresa Hayes | 24 October, 2018, 11:59

Christie's announced on Monday that starting October 31, they'll be holding an online auction, titled, "On the Shoulders of Giants", featuring 22 items from the late world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. More of Hawking's papers - including "Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse" and "Spectrum of Wormholes" - will be sold as well.

Other items related to Hawking that will be part of the sale include one of five copies of his Ph.D. thesis, a script from an episode of The Simpsons that he appeared in, a personalized bomber jacket, and a copy of his bestseller A Brief History of Time, signed with Hawking's thumbprint. Christie's estimates that the item will sell from between $12,600 and $18,900.

Auction house Christie's will auction 22 positions, including thesis and one of the wheelchair scientist and popularizer of science Stephen Hawking. One of the wheelchairs included in the sale has an estimated price of £10,000 t0 £15,000 or about $13,000 to $19,000. The thesis is signed by Hawking: "This dissertation is my original work, S.W. Hawking".

Other items reflect Hawking's celebrity status: A bomber jacket Hawking wore during a 2016 documentary as well as the original script for his final appearance on "The Simpsons".

Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which is usually fatal within a few years.

"It has been a huge privilege for Christie's to work on this selection of objects from the estate of one of the most brilliant minds of the last half-century", Thomas Venning, head of Christies' books and manuscripts department, said in a press release announcing the auction.

Daughter Lucy Hawking has noted that, through the auction, fans of the scientist will get the chance to become owners of the relics, reminding about the odd life of a theoretical physicist.

Prof Hawking's daughter, Lucy Hawking, said: "We are very pleased to have the assistance of Christie's to help us with the important matter of managing our beloved father's archives and his unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings, chronicling his life and work".

His illness left him wheelchair-bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication. According to a statement by the Christie's, Hawking's "mischievous attitude" to piloting his wheelchair became legendary, both in Cambridge and further afield.

Hawking died in March at age 76. The auction is open for bids between October 31 and November 8.

In addition to publishing numerous scientific papers, Hawking wrote books, and his popular "A Brief History of Time" will be at the auction.