DALLAS — The 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded to Dr. Francis Harry Compton Crick realized $2.27+ million to lead Heritage Auctions’ two-day, $4.97+ million Historical Manuscripts Signature® Auction in New York. Awarded for the discovery of the helical structure of DNA, the medal sold April 11 to Jack Wang, the CEO of Biomobie of Shanghai, China. Wang pledged to use the medal, which set a record as the most valuable Nobel Prize ever sold at auction, to encourage the pursuit of biomedical sciences.
Amid Crick’s personal items, his endorsed Nobel Prize check fetched $77,675, a lab coat worn as he decoded an amino acid brought $8,962 and his personal copy of Charles Darwin’s The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, sold for $4,182.
“This auction, given the international attention is received, showed the continuing importance of Crick’s, Watson’s and Franklin’s discovery 60 years after they made it,” said Sandra Palomino, Director of Historic Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions. “This medal is the physical embodiment of the importance that discovery represented and, as such, worth every bit of the final $2.27+ million price realized.”
In addition to the Nobel Prize medal and effects, the Historical Manuscripts auction offered a host of important signed documents, including a letter signed by Andrew Jackson as justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court challenging his governor to a duel, which realized $77,675 and set a record as the highest-selling Jackson letter ever offered at Heritage. A second letter signed by Jackson pertaining to the Battle of New Orleans sold for $65,725. A document signed by George Washington, circa 1749-1750, written at a time when Washington was a land surveyor, sold for $50,787.
Among the fine books offered in the auction, two early and faith-changing translations of The Bible, a 1566 copy of William Tyndale’s translation of The New Testament realized $46,875 and a 1550 copy of the historic Coverdale Bible, the first complete modern English translation of the Bible, sold for $40,625.
The first edition of the first issue of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, from 1997, realized $43,750, setting a world record for an unsigned copy. A 1955 signed first edition copy of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker sold for $40,625 and an 1898 first edition of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, inscribed to W.W. Jacobs, author of The Monkey’s Paw, sold for $35,000.
Additional highlights include but are not limited to:
A first edition of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking On the Origin of Species, 1859, realized $32,500.
Robert E. Howard’s original typed manuscript for the Conan the Barbarian story, "A Witch Shall Be Born," originally published in Weird Tales, December 1934, sold for $22,500.
A first-edition of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1940, fetched $13,750.
A first edition of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West, inscribed and signed, 1985, brought $8,750.
A scarce, asbestos bound copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a presentation copy warmly inscribed to novelist and screenwriter Richard Matheson and his wife, 1953, reached $16,875.
Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 750,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com
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