Sotheby’s to auction John F. Nash Jr. Nobel Prize medal in single-lot sale Oct. 17

Mathematician’s life featured in Academy-Award-winning film ‘A Beautiful Mind’
By , Coin World
Published : 09/03/16
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Inscribed around is SVERIGES RIKSBANK TILL ALFRED NOBELS MINNE 1968 (translating to “The Sveriges Riksbank, in memory of Alfred Nobel, 1968”).

The reverse features the North Star emblem of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, dating from 1815, with the words KUNGLIGA VETENSKAPS AKADEMIEN (translating to “The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences”) around the border.

The medal was presented along with a cash prize of 7 million Swedish krona, the equivalent today of $817,464 in U.S. funds.

Education and work

Nash earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Carnegie Institute of Technology and his doctorate from Princeton University. He also served on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1951 to 1959.

According to the auction narrative: “For John F. Nash, the accolade of the Nobel Prize was a transformative event, particularly in the context of his struggles with mental illness. During an interview at a 2004 meeting of Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences, Nash acknowledged that the Nobel Prize ‘had a tremendous impact on my life, more than on the life of most Prize winners because I was in an unusual situation. I was unemployed at the time … And so I was in a position to be very much influenced by the recognition of my earlier work … I had become widely known, but in a sense it wasn’t officially recognized. I was quoted very frequently in the literature of economics and mathematics, but it’s quite different to get official recognition.’ ”

Said Sotheby’s senior vice president for books and manuscripts, Selby Kiffer, “It has been very gratifying to work with the Estate of John F. Nash Jr. to bring this extraordinary man’s Nobel Prize to auction. Nash’s insights into game theory have become so pervasive that they affect our daily lives in many ways, whether or not we are fully cognizant of the operation of the ‘Nash equilibrium.’ ”

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