Stephen Hawking's Stuff Brought in an Outrageous Amount of Money at Auction
Stephen Hawking had a few Simpsons guest spots in his time, including a memorable episode where he spun records and rapped to a Flight of the Conchords song about creative artistry. Sure! Hawking's script for that episode went up for auction at Christie's, where it was expected to go for at least $2,520. When the auction closed Thursday, it had sold for more than three times as much: $8,144. And that's the least impressive chunk of change the auction pulled in for one of Hawking's 22 personal items.
Also up for auction was a copy of Hawking's Ph.D. thesis in which he wrote, "This dissertation is my original work." The most popular item at the auction, according to CNN, it went for $763,300-almost four times what was expected. And this is cool: Hawking's wheelchair, which he used in the mid-'80s and early '90s before losing control of his hands to ALS, went for nearly 20 times more than expected, bringing in $387,480. That money will go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
All together, Hawking's stuff raised $1.8 million, a whole heck of a lot more money than anyone saw coming.
Hawking once asked, "Does money matter? Does wealth make us rich any more?" For himself, he said, "I have come to see money as a facilitator, as a means to an end–whether it is for ideas, or health, or security–but never as an end in itself."
To be clear, he was talking about Brexit and not about the posthumous auctioning off of his personal belongings, but the message remains. Hopefully the people who dropped all this coin are using the opportunity to share Hawking's things with a new generation of scientific thinkers. Or at least, letting prop departments use them for what is sure to be a new era of Oscar-worthy Stephen Hawking movies.