University Archives

Lot 328

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Stephen Hawking Signed 1970s Photograph, Extremely Rare if not Unique!

A black and white photograph of Hawking, measuring 8.5" x 7.25", [Cambridge], dated Ca. 1970s. Signed "S.W. Hawking" in blue ink. A remarkably rare signature by the famed theoretical astrophysicist. A letter of provenance from the original owner accompanying the photograph explains how the signature was procured. Reading in part:

"I accompanied Stephen Hawking to lectures on mass influences as an interpreter, in various cities in the 1970s. On one occasion I asked Hawking to sign a photograph in which he is seen sitting in his wheelchair in his study. Hawking agreed (after saying in his characteristic way 'I don't understand for what it is desirable, but if you ask…') and signed the photograph…"

One of the most highly regarded scientists of modern times, Hawking made important and revolutionary contributions dealing with the physics of black holes. Called “the No. 1 celebrity scientist” of modern times, Hawking authored a number of best-selling books -- most notably “A Brief History of Time”. Hawking was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s disease”) in 1963. The disease is a degenerative nerve condition, and by the late 1970s, Hawking could no longer write or hold a pen. Due to this fact, his autograph has become extremely rare, with a signed book by him selling for more than $50,000 in 2015. Despite his diagnosis, Hawking continued his scientific work on general relativity and black hole theories. After the loss of his speech, he developed a system to communicate through a speech-generating device. He passed away at the age of 76, having lived with ALS for more than 50 years, and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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June 30, 2021 10:30 AM EDT

Wilton, CT, US

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000