Nobel Prize medal for Economic Sciences awarded in 1994 to
mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. will be offered in a single-lot auction Oct. 17 in New York by Sotheby’s.
life pursuing game theory, differential geometry and the study of
partial differential equations is chronicled in director Ron Howard’s
2001 Academy-Award-winning film, A Beautiful Mind.
medal, along with its original red morocco case, calligraphic diploma
with original watercolor drawing by Bengt Landin, original box and
attaché case for the diploma, and official letters from the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences, carries an estimate of $2.5 million to $4 million.
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who struggled with mental illness, died May 23, 2015, at age 86.
to NobelPrize.org, from the inception of the Nobel
prize in 1900 to 1980, the “Swedish” medals, each weighing
approximately 200 grams and with a diameter of 66 millimeters, were
composed of 23-karat gold. After 1980 they have been made of 18-karat
green gold plated with 24-karat gold. The weight is set at 175 grams
for all medals, except for the medal for the prize in Economic
Sciences (of which the Nash medal is one), which is set at 185 grams.
Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was established in 1968 in connection
with the 300th anniversary of the Sveriges Riksbank (Swedish National Bank).
Nash medal, designed and engraved by Swedish artist and sculptor
Gunvor Svensson-Lundqvist, was struck at Myntverket (the Swedish Mint) in Eskilstuna,
Sweden. Nash’s name is engraved on the edge of the medal.
obverse of the Nash medal features a portrait facing left of Alfred
Nobel, with the bank’s crossed horns of plenty below. This design
distinguishes the Nobel Prize in Economic Science from the medals of
the five prizes awarded under the terms of Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will
creating the award.
around is SVERIGES RIKSBANK TILL ALFRED NOBELS MINNE 1968 (translating
to “The Sveriges Riksbank, in memory of Alfred Nobel, 1968”).
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.
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
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.
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.’ ”
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.’ ”