Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, thesis sell for over $1.3 million at auction

Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair sells for £300,000 at auction

A copy of Stephen Hawking s doctorate thesis signed in a shaky hand was the highlight of an auction of the British physicist s personal items in London, which raised almost £1.4 million ($1.8 million, 1.6 million euros).

The dissertation was expected to sell for up to £150,000 but the buyer eventually bid £584,750 to secure it. Hawking's motorised wheelchair sold for £296,750, as did the set of seven awards, including the Albert Einstein award for achievement in natural sciences. Proceeds will be donated to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Christie's said.

Personal effects of Stephen Hawking, including a signed copy of his 1965 PhD thesis, have raised more than £1.8m at auction.

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

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

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. After he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, when he was 21, doctors only gave him a few years to live.

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.

"Hawking initially resisted the idea of using a wheelchair in the late 1960s; by the late 1970s, he was using motorized models like the present example, and was even renowned for being a rather wild driver", said Christie's.

A script for his appearance on The Simpsons sold for £6,250.

A collection of Hawking's medals and awards fetched almost £300,000 ($392,000) more-again well above the expected price. This particular episode was aired on September 26, 2010.

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