Stephen Hawking auction offers a unique trip through time

London sales: Hawking’s wheelchair for sale; plus, take home a piece of Annabel’s nightclub

Stephen Hawking’s motorised wheelchair is to be sold by Christie’s over the Halloween period as part of a week-long online auction.

Twenty-two lots related to the world renowned physicist, who died in March, will go under the hammer. The lots range from the physicist's own printed copies of his most important papers – including his seminal "Black hole explosions?" of 1974 – to a selection of his medals and awards, a copy of his best-selling 1988 book A Brief History of Time signed with a thumbprint, a bomber jacket, and the script for one of his appearances on The Simpsons.

The sale concludes with Prof Hawking's wheelchair, in which he toured the world as a successful scientific communicator, says Christie's. Proceeds for this item will benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

A highlight of the group is Prof Hawking's thesis typescript (est £100,000-£150,000). When his PhD thesis was made available online by Cambridge University in October 2017, it proved so popular that it crashed the university's website. When he wrote his thesis in October 1965, Hawking was already suffering with the early symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and it was his wife Jane, whom he had married three months earlier, who typed out the 117 pages of the document, painstakingly adding the mathematical equations by hand.


The thesis is signed in Hawking’s distinctively shaky handwriting, with the statement,”This dissertation is my original work. SW Hawking.”

Big interest in little ceramics

Ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal wrote about his collection of Japanese netsuke in his bestselling memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes, and now fans will have an oppportunity to buy one of these carved wood or ivory pieces which were originally made to decorate kimonos.

The author is selling more than 70 pieces from the collection, with proceeds estimated at £30,000 to go to the charity Refugee Council. The sale is due to take place on November 21st, at Matthew Barton auctioneers in London; however, the auction will not include the hare netsuke of the book title. This, along with de Waal's remaining netsuke (almost 200 pieces), will be loaned to the Jewish Museum in Vienna, where they will be exhibited with the archive of de Waal's family, the Ephrussi, a wealthy banking dynasty whose Viennese home was seized by the Nazis in 1938.

One last fling at Annabel’s

Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss lounged on its red velvet sofas. Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson gatecrashed Prince Andrew's stag night there disguised as policewomen. And legions of London's poshest people dined and danced there for decades. Annabel's nightclub on Berkeley Square was founded over 55 years ago by Mark Birley, but was taken over in 2007 by businessman Richard Caring who has since opened a new Annabel's members' club next door.

Now the public is being offered one last chance to view the interior of old Annabel’s as the nightclub’s entire contents are to be sold at auction through Christie’s. The sale will include paintings, light fittings and all furniture, including several lots of the classic Annabel’s dining table. Anyone who buys a a table will also get eight chairs and eight place-settings including plates, cutlery, wine glasses, napkins, salt and pepper and a toast rack. The price is estimated to be between £1,000 and £1,500.