Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hawking wheelchair auction produces charity windfall

Hawking wheelchair auction produces charity windfall

Personal effects owned by famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, including his wheelchair and doctoral thesis, have sold for a combined total of over a million pounds (about $1,306,275, AU$1,801,515) at auction. The thesis was one of five existing copies and was expected to fetch up to $195,800 (£150,000), according to Christie's.

Proceeds from the wheelchair sale will go to benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association; proceeds from Prof Hawking's other items will go to his estate. Rehana Popal, an immigration specialist in London, said that in two years she had lost six instructions on similar grounds.

The red motorised wheelchair once used by Hawking went under the stamp for $391.7 million while his Cambridge thesis titled "Properties of Expanding Universes" was sold for $7.6 million.

Prof Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time, which he signed with a thumbprint in 1988, sold for £68,750, way above the £3,000 guide price.

An invitation he sent out to a party held several years previously, a light-hearted experiment to see if any time travellers would turn up, sold for more than 10 times its pre-sale estimate of £100, while a bomber jacket he wore in a 2016 documentary raised £40,000.

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

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Hawking, who was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and a prolific author, died in March at age 76.

In total the auction raised £1,824,375.

Along with inclusion of Hawking's personal belongings, the auction also included belongings linked to scientists including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, wrote The Guardian.

"We are also giving 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".

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

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