A WHEELCHAIR used by Stephen Hawking has sold for a whopping amount at an online auction of some of the late physicists most prized possessions.
The iconic motorised chair was used by Stephen Hawking after he was paralysed with motor neuron disease.
The sale also included the renowned scientist’s doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe and a script from one of his appearances on The Simpsons.
Diagnosed with motor neurone disease at 22, the disease eventually left Professor Hawking almost completely paralysed.
Christie’s auctioneer Thomas Venning said the wheelchair became a symbol not just of disability but of Professor Hawking’s “puckish sense of humour”.
He once ran over Prince Charles’ toes and reportedly joked that he wished he had done the same to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Hawkings 1965 thesis on the origins of the universe sold for £584,750, more than three times its pre-sale estimate.
Mr Venning said the papers “trace the development of his thought — this brilliant, electrifying intelligence”.
Proceeds from its sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, said the sale gave “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”.
Other notable items auctioned off included a document signed by Isaac Newton repaying a loan, which sold for £56,250, a letter from Charles Darwin described as his “glowing review of the naturalist’s report on the Challenger expedition”, which sold for £15,000, and a copy of Einstein’s views on Newton, which was once owned by the former’s son and sold for £13,750.
Last month a recording made by Professor Hawking warning of the dangers posed by Brexit and Donald Trump was broadcast at the launch for his final book.
In the message from “beyond the grave” he cited the election of Mr Trump and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as part of “a global revolt against experts, and that includes scientists”.
The sale, run online by Christies and including 52 lots, raised more than £1.8m on Thursday. It included items belonging to Hawking, as well as others linked to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.
The dissertation was expected to sell for up to £150,000 but the buyer eventually bid £584,750 to secure it. Hawkings motorised wheelchair sold for £296,750, as did the set of seven awards, including the Albert Einstein award for achievement in natural sciences. One of Newtons manuscripts sold for £100,000, a letter written by Darwin went for £50,000 and a bidder agreed to pay £32,500 for one of Einsteins manuscripts.
The sale was named On the Shoulders of Giants – a reference to the famous phrase once used by Newton of his own achievements: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time, 1988, first American edition, which was signed with a thumbprint. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock The money raised by the sale of the wheelchair will go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Hawking lived most of his life with motor neurone disease, before dying at the age of 76 in March.
Also on sale were personal copies of the British physicists papers, such as a copy of his 1974 article, Black Hole Explosions?, in which he predicted that black holes would release blackbody radiation, known as Hawking Radiation. The paper sold for £7,500.
A copy of his bestselling A Brief History of Time, signed with a thumbprint, sold for £68,750, a bomber jacket went for £40,000 and the script for one of his appearances on The Simpsons sold for £6,250.
Hawkings daughter, Lucy, said the sale gave admirers of his work the chance to acquire a memento of our fathers extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items.
Hawkings children hope to preserve his scientific archive for the nation. Christies was handling the negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.
Other notable items included a document signed by Isaac Newton repaying a loan, which sold for £56,250, a letter from Charles Darwin described as his glowing review of the naturalists report on the Challenger expedition, which sold for £15,000, and a copy of Einsteins views on Newton, which was once owned by the formers son and sold for £13,750.