Medal, letter, other memorabilia auctioned to benefit medical research
Heritage Auctions, the firm organizing the sale in New York, estimates the medal will be sold for at least $500,000. The immediate proceeds will go to Crick’s family members, who plan to establish the Francis Crick Foundation, benefiting medical research. The Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, where Crick spent the years after his Nobel award studying consciousness, also will be a beneficiary. Crick died in 2004; his wife, Odile, died in 2007.
Nobel prizes are rarely given away or sold. But Crick’s family and colleagues noted that the famous scientist was never one to show off; in fact, he kept the medal in storage for decades.
But many scientists and historians are far more interested in an auction of Crick’s memorabilia that’s happening the day before. On April 10, the auction house Christie’s will begin taking bids on a letter that Crick wrote to his son Michael, explaining the discovery made by him, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. In the letter dated March 19, 1953, he draws a picture of the new DNA double-helix structure, and explains the new model the researchers developed. By the time he reaches page 7, Crick sums it up: “In other words, we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life came from life…You can understand we are very excited. We have to have a letter off to Nature in a day or so.”
The letter to Nature did go off, and was published on April 25, with far more modest language. But Francis Crick’s letter to his son may fetch very immodest prices: Christies’ expects the letter to sell for between $1 and $2 million.
Other items include his gardening book and nautical logs (he was an avid gardener and sailor), a lab coat from the 1950s and 1960s, and the check he received from the Nobel Prize Committee.
francis crick’s nobel prize for sale, dna structure discovery