Thumb nails Hawkings at four figures

The 1988 UK edition of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief of History of Time sold for £3000 at Ewbank’s, with a detail of the witnessed title-page thumbprint above.

Bearing a thumbprint on the title-page – along with a note by a secretary, Susan Macey, witnessing it as genuine – a 1988 UK edition of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief of History of Time… was estimated at £200-400 but sold for £3000 in a May 30 sale.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

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It was offered in the Entertainment & Memorabilia auction held by Ewbank’s (24% buyer’s premium) of Send.

Good Fella

Another example of this ‘well thumbed’ approach was seen in the most recent online On the Shoulders of Giants sale held by Christie’s (25/20/13.5% buyer’s premium).

That May 16-23 auction contained some much more expensive items by Hawking, Richard Feynman and others to which I will return at a later date, but £4200 secured a first US edition of the book in which the thumbprint was verified by Judy Fella.

Hawking’s first secretary and later PA and nursing co-ordinator, Fella had worked with him on the first draft.

Both results, however, are dwarfed by the sum paid for a copy in the 2018 sale branded On the Shoulders of Giants, held by Christie’s. Another first US edition, bearing the famous thumbprint but no other annotation, had been estimated at £2000-3000 but sold for £55,000! This was one of the lots from the Stephen Hawking family estate.