Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair sells for USD 393,000 at auction

Some of the professor's medals and awards were sold. Pic Christie's Image Some of the professor's medals and awards were sold. Pic Christie's
Elijah Vega | 11 November, 2018, 02:28

It was sold for almost twenty times what it was expected to snatch at auction, and its sale will benefit both the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. A motorised wheelchair that belonged to the physicist, who died in March and which was expected to fetch £15,000, went for nearly £300,000.

The lots included medals and awards which sold for a total of £296,750, while Prof Hawking's own scientific papers and library of the works of other famous scientists such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, went for sums in the tens of thousands of pounds.

"Stephen Hawking was a huge personality worldwide", Thomas Venning, head of the Books and Manuscripts department at auction house Christie's London, told Reuters prior to the auction. Hawking's dissertation was the single most expensive item.

Originally given just two years to live, Hawking lived for 55 years following his diagnosis, using a wheelchair for the vast majority of his life, before his death on March 14 at 76. All of those were sold, and the total, about US$1.8 million, was seven times more than had been predicted.

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Among the items sold during the nine-day sale in London was his wheelchair, a signed copy of his Ph.D. thesis at Cambridge University, a script during his appearance on The Simpsons, and many more.

Image: This Simpsons script - an episode that featured Professor Hawking - sold for £6,250.

All the proceeds from the sale of the chair will benefit the Motor Neurone Disease Association and The Stephen Hawking Foundation. Letters and manuscripts belonged to Newton, Einstein and Darwin were also put on the sale.

According to The Guardian, Hawking's children plan to donate the rest of their father's estate to the nation as part of the "acceptance in lieu" scheme, which allows one to transfer objects of artistic or historical value into public ownership to pay down inheritance tax.

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