Home Science & Technology James Watson becomes first living recipient to auction Nobel Prize medal

James Watson becomes first living recipient to auction Nobel Prize medal


Molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist James D. Watson is to auction off his Nobel Prize medal he won in 1962 for the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Christie’s says the medal is the first to be auctioned by a living recipient and could fetch between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.

The prize was awarded in 1962 to James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick, with each receiving a gold medal.

The auction includes papers belonging to Prof. James Watson, including handwritten notes for his acceptance speech.

Christie’s estimates these at between $300,000 and $400,000.

The discovery of the structure of DNA – which encodes the instruction booklet for building a living organism – was made by James Watson and Francis Crick, using experimental data that had been gathered by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin.

Prof. James Watson said part of the proceeds would go to the University of Chicago, Clare College at Cambridge University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island Land Trust and other charities.

Francis Crick’s Nobel medal sold for $2.2 million last year. He died in 2004.