Auctions | October 14, 2015

1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to be Auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions

LOS ANGELES, October 13, 2015—The 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Dr. Alan Lloyd Hodgkin will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on October 29. It is the only 13th Nobel Prize to go under the hammer. Interested bidders may participate in the auction online.

Hodgkin was born in 1914 in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Hodgkin’s grandfather Thomas Hodgkin and Uncle Robin Hodgkin were famous historians. Dr. Hodgkin graduated from Trinity College at Cambridge University in 1943. At Trinity, Hodgkin studied with prominent scientists J.J. Thomson, Earnest Rutherford, Francis W. Aston among others. During World War II, he worked on radar development. After World War II, he returned to a teaching position at Cambridge in the physiology department.

In 1963, Hodgkin along with colleague A.F. Huxley received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their revolutionary research on the central nervous system. Using nerve cells or axons from the giant squid, Hodgkin and Huxley studied the phenomenon of action potentials in which a stimulated nerve cell generates an electrical pulse. The two scientists modeled the behavior of the cell mathematically resulting in a set of four differential equations that represent the different biophysical reactions taking place when the nerve cell emits an electrical voltage spike. The ensemble of nerve cells comprise the central nervous system and utilize these voltage spikes for communication between cells.

Hodgkin died in 1998 in Cambridge. 

The Nobel Prize is made of 23kt gold. The medal features the relief portrait of Alfred Nobel on its front, with his Nobel’s name, and his birthdate and death years. The verso features a relief of the Goddess Isis. Encircling the medal are the words “Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes” translating to “And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery”. Hodgkin’s name and the year 1963 in Roman numerals are engraved on a plaque below the relief of the two women. The inscription, “Reg. Acad. Scient Suec” is the abbreviation for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Etched upon the medal is Erik Lindberg’s name, the designer of the Nobel medal. The 196-gram medal is displayed in its original maroon leather case with Dr. Hodgkin’s name stamped in gold. 

The Nobel Prize comes with a letter of authenticity from Dr. Hodgkin’s daughter.

In May 2015, Nate D. Sanders auctioned Dr. Lederman’s Nobel Prize for $765,002.

Bidding for the Nobel Prize begins at $450,000.

Additional information on the Nobel Prize can be found at

Also being auctioned are a Royal medal presented to Hodgkin in 1958 and his 1965 Copley medal. The Royal Medal, also known as the Queen’s Medal was awarded to two recipients annually from 1826-1965 for the most important contributions to “the advancement of natural knowledge." In 1966, the Royal Society awarded three medals annually. The Copley Medal is the oldest scientific award in the world and has been presented by the London-based Royal Society annually since 1731.