Stephen Hawking Wheelchair And Other Personal Effects To Be Sold At Auction


An online auction announced October 22, 2018, by auctioneer Christie's features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe.

Only five copies of the Ph.D. thesis exist - although a digital copy was made available online for free by Cambridge University Library's Open Access Week a year ago.

Thomas Venning, the head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, told the AP that the doctoral thesis reflects both Hawking's scientific achievements and his personal history.

"You can see each advance as he produced it and introduced it to the scientific community", Venning said.

The cosmic visionary was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and was given just a few years to live. The document was signed with shaky handwriting, as Hawking finished it after beginning to show symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which eventually left him paralyzed.

"We are very pleased to have the assistance of Christie's to help us with the important matter of managing our beloved father's archives and his unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings, chronicling his life and work", said Lucy Hawking in a statement via Christie's.

The disease eventually left Hawking nearly completely paralyzed. Meanwhile, Hawking's wheelchairs have become a symbol for his disability. He communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs.

A poster advertising Time Travellers meeting hosted by Stephen Hawking is one of the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking at the auction house Christies in London Friday Oct. 19 2018. The online auction announced Monday Oct. 22 2018
Auction house to sell Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, thesis and his script from 'The Simpsons'

Proceeds from the wheelchair lot will go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Christie's said. The wheelchair, estimated to be worth between $13,000 and $19,500, is included in the sale.

Also being auctioned off is the wheelchair Hawking used from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, before he lost the ability to use his hands.

Having run over Prince Charles's toes during a meeting in 1977, he is said to have regretted not doing the same to the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

A copy of a thesis by Professor Stephen Hawking is expected to sell for as much as £150,000 at auction. She said the auction would give "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 items include copies of various scientific papers, a selection of medals, a bomber jacket he wore in a documentary, as well as a copy of his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, that's signed with Hawking's thumbprint.

The online auction will start on October 31 and run through November 8.

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