The 1962 Nobel Prize gold medal awarded to Dr. James D. Watson for his 1953 discovery with Dr. Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, of the structure of DNA will be offered by Christie’s in New York on December 4. Dr. Watson is one of the world’s greatest living scientists. The discovery of the double helix gave birth to the new science of molecular biology and revolutionized modern medicine. A Nobel Prize medal has never before been offered for sale by a living recipient. A portion of the proceeds will be donated by Dr. Watson to continue his philanthropic legacy of supporting scientific research, academic institutions, and other charitable causes. It is estimated at $2.5 to $3.5 million.
Dr. Watson wrote the first textbook of the new science, the influential Molecular Biology of the Gene in 1965. This was followed in 1968 by his memoir of the discovery The Double Helix, one of the best selling popular science books of all time. In April 2013 Christie’s sold Dr. Crick’s Secret of Life letter, in which he explained the structure of DNA to his son a few weeks before their discovery was published. It made $6,059,750, more than three times the estimate, and it holds the record for a letter sold at auction.
UPDATE: It was bought by Russia’s richest man, mining, steel and telecoms magnate Alisher Usmanov, who plans to return it to Dr. Watson.