Wheelchair used by Stephen Hawking auctioned off, proceeds to go to charity

Cristina Cross
November 12, 2018

A motorized wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold at auction on Thursday for almost 300,000 pounds ($391,740.00) while a dissertation raised nearly twice that at a sale to raise money for charity. Auction house Christie's ran the online auction for nearly nine days in order to raise the funds for charity goal of Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

However, the most expensive item that sold earlier this week was a copy of Hawking's PhD thesis, titled, "Properties of expanding universes".

Hawking published his thesis in 1965, two years after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor-neurone disease that would eventually leave him paralysed.

Hawking instead lived for many more decades, dying this past March at age 76.

What happened: According to Fortune, the motorized wheelchair, which Hawking used in the 1980s and 1990s, was expected to sell for somewhere between $10,000 to 15,000. The great scientist was famous for his work in exploring the origins of the universe.

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Hawking's production script from a 2010 episode of "The Simpsons" in which he appeared, sold for over $8,100.

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".

A copy of his bestselling "A Brief History of Time", signed with a thumbprint, sold for over $89,000.

Hawking's children hope to preserve his scientific archive for the nation. Christie's was handling the negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.

Other items sold in the online auction were linked to Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.

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