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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair sells at charity auction

Online sale exceeds targets after the death of the renowned physicist in March

The wheelchair once owned by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold for nearly £300,000 at auction. AFP
The wheelchair once owned by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold for nearly £300,000 at auction. AFP

A motorised wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold at auction on Thursday for almost £300,000 with the proceeds going to charity.

Famed for his work exploring the origins of the universe, Professor Hawking died in March at the age of 76 after spending most of his life confined to a wheelchair with motor neurone disease.

A signed copy of his 117-page dissertation – one of only five – titled Properties of Expanding Universes from 1965 secured the top price of £584,750. It reached more nearly four times its expected price during the nine-day online auction with interest from around the world.

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Some of his belongings including essays, medals, awards and a copy of his book a "Brief History of Time" signed with a thumbprint were sold online alongside letters and manuscripts belonging to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

A script for his appearance on The Simpsons sold for £6,250. His book, a Brief History of Time, that he signed with a thumbprint in 1988 was sold for nearly £70,000.

Auction house Christie's ran the auction called "On the Shoulders of Giants" to raise money for the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It collected more than £1.8 million in total.

"Stephen Hawking was a huge personality worldwide. He had this amazing ability to connect with people," Thomas Venning, head of the Books and Manuscripts department at auction house Christie's London, told Reuters.