Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair and thesis fetch more than US$1m at auction

Some of the professor's medals and awards were sold. Pic Christie's

Some of the professor's medals and awards were sold. Pic Christie's

A selection of work and belongings of the late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking snatched hundreds of thousands of dollars per item at a recent Christie's auction.

Other items sold by auction house Christies include his dissertation, which fetched over half a million pounds, and his bomber jacket that went for £40,000. The full collection also included manuscripts by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein.

In total, the auction included 52 lots and raised around $2.35 million.

Medals and awards sold for 296,750 pounds ($387,708), compared with an estimate of 15,000 pounds, while the red motorised wheelchair sold for 296,750 pounds ($387,708), also compared with an estimate of 15,000 pounds.

Hawking died at the age of 76 in March, he suffered from motor neuron disease most of his life.

The physicist's daughter, Lucy, said Christie's had been helping the family "manage our beloved father's unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings".

The same price of £296,750 was achieved by Hawking's earliest existing motorized wheelchair, which he used extensively during the global book tour for his 1988 best-seller A Brief History of Time.

A signed copy of his worldwide best-seller A Brief History of Time sold for £68,750 or nearly $90,000.

When Cambridge finally made Hawking's thesis available to download in 2017, it was viewed more than 60,000 times in 24 hours and public interest completely crashed the university's server.

A bidder also spent more than US$760,000 - more than double the expectation - on Prof Hawking's signed 1965 PhD thesis, Properties of Expanding Universes, about the origins of time and space. 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.

Hawking's children hope to preserve his scientific archive for the nation.

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