Friday, April 12, 2013
Most expensive letter: DNA discoverer's letter breaks Guinness world record
NEW YORK CITY, USA -- A letter that scientist Francis Crick wrote to his son about his Nobel Prize-winning DNA discovery was sold to anonymous buyer at a New York City auction for $6,059,750 (without Christie's added premium the sale price was $5.3 million) - which sets the new world record for the Most expensive letter,
according to the World Record Academy: www.worldrecordacademy.com/.
Photo: A letter the British scientist who co-discovered the structure of DNA wrote to his son announcing the news sold Wednesday for a record sum of $6,059,750. (enlarge photo)
The Guinness world record for the Most expensive franked letter was set by an 1847 letter to wine merchants in Bordeaux, franked with the 1d and 2d first issues of Mauritius, which was bought by an anonymous buyer in less than a minute for CHF6,123,750 ($4,075,165) at a sale conducted by Geneva-based auctioneer David Feldman (Ireland) at the Hotel International in Zürich, Switzerland.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Most expensive letter sold at auction, set by a letter written by George Washington in 1787 to his nephew Bushrod Washington, urging adoption of the country's new constitution; it was sold for $3,200,000 at Christie's, New York, USA.
A letter written by scientist Francis Crick describing his discovery of the double helix shape of DNA has been sold for $5.3m (£3.45m). The price, which far exceeded the $1 million pre-sale estimate, topped $6 million when the commission is included, according to Christie's.
Crick wrote to his 12-year-old son Michael in March 1953 describing the discovery and including a sketch.
In the seven-page letter Crick told how he and James Watson found the copying mechanism "by which life comes from life".
It was written more than a month before the pair officially published their work.
The letter began: "My dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery.
"We have built a model for des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read carefully) called DNA for short."
He described it as a "beautiful" structure and included a sketch of it, underneath which he wrote: "The model looks much nicer than this."
The letter concluded: "Read this carefully so that you will understand it. When you come home we will show you the model. "Lots of love, Daddy.''
Crick, along with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, was given the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for "discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material".
The price, which far exceeded the $1 million pre-sale estimate, topped $6 million when the commission is included, according to Christie's.
The price was a record for a letter sold, eclipsing an Abraham Lincoln letter that sold in 2008 for $3.4 million.
Related world records:
Most expensive letter from Titanic: world record set by Spink Smythem
Largest Human DNA Helix: Genentech set world record (HD Video)
Longest model of a DNA gene-world record set at Huddersfield University
Longest genome ever discovered - The Paris japonica sets world record
Oldest Letter to Santa: 100-year-old 'Dear Santa' Letter sets world record
Smallest periodic table: UK scientists sets world record (Video)
Longest Pi Chain: Monroe students sets world record (Video)
digits of pi calculated: Shigeru Kondo and Alexander Yee sets world record
periodic table of elements: Fossil Ridge students
Pi Chain: Qatar International School
model of a DNA gene: Huddersfield University