For Sale: One very noteworthy Nobel Prize


We’ve all struggled with the annual Father’s Day conundrum: What to get for the man who’s hard to shop for? Another tie? Aftershave? A video of the NHL’s greatest fights?

How about a Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Prize awarded to Francis Crick in 1962 for his work in discovering the structure of DNA is being auctioned by his family, along with one of his lab coats, his books and other memorabilia.

It is believed to be the first Nobel Prize put up for auction in more than 70 years and the opening bid is set for $250,000, according to Heritage Auctions.

Crick is noted for being a co-discoverer of the structure of Deoxyribonucleic acid in 1953, together with James D. Watson. Crick, Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.”

Their discovery played a crucial role in deciphering DNA’s double helix, according to Live Science.

The medal, like others made before 1980, is struck in 23-carat gold. Some of the proceeds from the April 10 auction in New York will help fund research at the new Francis Crick Institute in London set to be completed in 2015, according to Agence France-Presse.

Crick, who died in 2004, was a modest man who preferred to outfit his office with a big chalkboard and a portrait of Charles Darwin rather than display his many awards, his family noted.

Image of Francis Crick's Nobel Prize, received in 1962 and now up for auction.

Image of Francis Crick’s Nobel Prize, received in 1962 and now up for auction.

The award has been in storage for much of the past 50 years and his family hopes to sell it to a museum or institute where it can be on public display, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Our hope is that, by having it available for display, it can be an inspiration to the next generation of scientists,” said granddaughter Kindra Crick.

Watson and Crick proposed the iconic double-helical structure for DNA and the replication scheme in 1953. The pair subsequently suggested a general theory for the structure of small viruses.

Crick’s initials are engraved on the back of medal, along with the date of the award in Roman numerals. The two-page Nobel diploma is included with the medal, according to the wire service.

His endorsed check for nearly 86,000 kroners is also up for auction, along with nautical logbooks and gardening journals.

(Above: Francis Crick shown with model of DNA double helix.)

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