Most Expensive Letter Sells for $5.3 Million
The most expensive letter in the world belongs to Francis Crick’s son.
Over 60 years ago, Francis Crick and James Watson heralded a revolution in the world of genetics by discovering the structure of DNA molecule in 1953.
Several weeks before they were able to announce the discovery, Francis Crick wrote a letter to his 12-year-old son, explaining his new discovery.
That letter was sold at Christie’s auction in New York for the highest amount ever fetched by a letter. The total includes $5.3 million winning bid plus buyer’s premium.
Bought by an anonymous bidder over the phone, the letter sold for three times the pre-auction estimate of $2 million.
Half of the proceeds of the price will go to Michael and the rest will go to Salk Institute for Biological Studies from California, the same place where Francis Crick worked until his demise in 2004.
The seven page letter starts with these lines: “My dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery.”
The handwritten letter goes on to describe the working of the DNA molecule and a rough diagram of the structure. He signed off the letter, dated March 19, 1953, ‘lots of love, Daddy’
Francis Crick wrote ‘We think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life’
The father offers his 12-year-old son a step-by-step, easy to read guide to each part of his model here seen composed of sugar and phosphorus
‘We have built a model for the structure of des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid, called DNA for short,’ he writes of his breakthrough with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins.
‘In other words we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life.’
It includes a simple sketch of DNA’s double helix structure, which he writes underneath: ‘the model looks much nicer than this.’
In 1962, along with his American partner James Watson, Francis won the Nobel Prize for his discovery.
The 23-carat gold Nobel Prize medal along with other items like the Nobel Prize diploma, his lab coat, and his cancelled Nobel check will be sold by Heritage Auctions and 20% of the proceeds will go to Francis Crick Institute in London.
Other items at the Christies auction included a sketch of Francis Crick made by his wife that fetched $17,500, and one of his notebooks, which sold for $21,250.
James Watson was also there at the auction. Crick Junior, who has had a long career as a computer programmer hopes that the medal and the letter will be put for public display to inspire young scientists from around the world.
What do you think about the most expensive letter? I know is a surprise for you to find out about this (or not), but what do you think?