Stephen Hawking's wheelchair sells for $US539,000 at auction

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

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair and thesis sold at auction

The late physicist's personal items were put up for auction by an online event run by British auction house Christie's and dubbed the "On the Shoulders of Giants" sale.

A wheelchair used by Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for nearly 300,000 pounds ($393,000), while a copy of the scientist's doctoral thesis fetched nearly 585,000 pounds ($767,000).

The collection highlighted the brilliance, determination and sense of humour of Hawking, who died in March aged 76 after a lifetime spent trying to unlock the secrets of the universe. It featured pieces belonging to other celebrated thinkers including Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin. It collected more than £1.8 million in total.

Another big hit at the auction was an early motorized wheelchair used by Hawking after he was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1963.

One of his most famous works was his landmark book a "A Brief History of Time", which sold more than 10 million copies.

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Described as "arguably both literally and metaphorically the most-travelled wheelchair in history", the specially-adapted chair had originally been expected to fetch just £15,000. Proceeds will be donated to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Christie's said.

The copy, one of only five originals of the thesis entitled "Properties of expanding universes", smashed pre-sale expectations four times over to sell for £584,750 at the Christie s sale, which ended on Thursday.

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.

According to the Guardian, the esteemed physicist's daughter Lucy Hawking said the auction was an opportunity for his admirers to "acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items".

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