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Hawking's wheelchair, thesis fetch $1 million

November 9, 2018

A motorized wheelchair and a thesis belonging to Stephen Hawking have sold at auction for more than $1 million. The sale raised money for two charities, including one belonging to the British physicist.

UK Stephen Hawking - Auktion bei Christie's
Image: picture-alliance/Photoshot/Ray Tang

Stephen Hawking's red motorized wheelchair fetched nearly 300,000 pounds (€345,500, $392,000) at auction while a dissertation sold for nearly twice that amount, Christie's auction house said Thursday.

The British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, famed for his work exploring the origins of the universe, died in March at the age of 76. He spent most of his life confined to a wheelchair with motor neuron disease.

The wheelchair was estimated to go for 15,000 pounds but wound up fetching 296,750 pounds. Additionally, Hawking's 117-page dissertation "Properties of expanding universes" from 1965 sold for 584,750 pounds, well above the estimate of up to 150,000 pounds.

A book, written and corrected with handwritten annotation by Stephen Hawking
A book with Hawking's handwritten annotation was one of the personal and academic possessions up for auctionImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/F. Augstein

Letters, manuscripts from Newton, Darwin and Einstein

The sale was part of a nine-day online auction by Christie's called "On the Shoulders of Giants" to raise money for the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Some of the items up for auction included essays, medals, awards, a copy of his book A Brief History of Time signed with a thumbprint, and letters and manuscripts belonging to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Hawking's daughter, Lucy, said the sale provided "admirers of his work the chance to acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items."

dv/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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