Stephen Hawking’s motorised wheelchair was sold for 393,000 dollars (around R5.6m) while the late physicist’s PhD dissertation fetched almost double that amount, auction house Christie’s said Thursday…

The chair was the “earliest surviving example” of a wheelchair used by the scientist after he was left paralyzed by motor neuron disease, Christie’s said.

Hawking used the chair, which was being sold as a collector’s item and not for medical use, from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, before he became unable to use his hands to drive the device.

Proceeds from the chair’s sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The original typescript of Hawking’s 1965 Cambridge University PhD thesis sold for 767,000 dollars in the same online auction, while other items, including a bomber jacket worn by the scientist, fetched a combined 650,000 dollars.

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The 52-lot sale, which also featured items linked to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, totalled more than 2.3 million dollars.

Hawking died on March 14 at his home in Cambridge, aged 76.

He was diagnosed at the age of 21 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, an incurable motor neurone disease which left him in a wheelchair and in later age needing to use a speech synthesizer to communicate.

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking with Nelson Mandela.PHOTO: ANA

Author: ANA Newswire