1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded to Dr. Francis
Harry Compton Crick, along with Drs. James Dewey Watson and
Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, for "...their discoveries
concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its
significance for information transfer in living material" will be
auctioned with an opening bid of $500,000 when it comes across the
block at Heritage Auctions on April 11 as the highlight of the
Manuscripts Signature® Auction.
The auction of the medal is a historic moment, marking the first
time that a Nobel Prize has been sold at public auction. It has been
kept in a safe deposit box in California since Crick's widow passed
away, and has been consigned to auction by his heirs.
"This year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic
discovery of the structure of DNA and 50 years have passed since
Francis Crick was awarded the Nobel Prize," said Kindra Crick,
granddaughter of the famous scientist and spokesperson for the family.
"For most of that time, the Nobel Prize and the unique personal
diploma have been locked up. By auctioning his Nobel it will finally
be made available for public display and be well looked after. Our
hope is that, by having it available for display, it can be an
inspiration to the next generation of scientists."
In addition, the Prize's proceeds will again be used to promote
ground-breaking scientific research, as a portion of the sale will be
awarded to the new Francis Crick Institute in London set to be
completed in 2015.
"The discovery of the structure of DNA launched a scientific
revolution and forever changed human understanding of life," said
Sandra Palomino, Director of Historical Manuscripts for Heritage
Auctions. "This medal is the embodiment of the respect and
recognition that came with that momentous breakthrough."
Crick showed an aptitude toward science at an early age, receiving
a Bachelor of Science in Physics from University College London at the
age of 21. He met James D. Watson (b. 1928), a 23 year-old American
postdoctoral zoologist with a background in genetics, in 1951. The two
men, discovering a shared common goal of solving the molecular
structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, became close friends and partners.
Crick, alongside Watson and Wilkins, received his Nobel Prize from
the hand of King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden at the Stockholm Concert
Hall on Dec. 10, 1962. Rosalind Franklin, who also contributed to the
discovery, died in 1958 before the Nobel was awarded. It is not
Crick's initials are engraved on the reverse of the medal, along
with the year of the prize, 1962, presented in Roman numerals:
"F. H. C. Crick/MCMLXII." The second piece of the
Prize, the Nobel diploma — two beautifully handwritten, vellum pages,
9.5" x 13.5", in Swedish, dated Stockholm, October 18, 1962
— is also included.