Given the provenance I'm actually pretty confident that this Stephen Hawking is real. He signed a book that is not actually by him as a bit of a joke.
The autograph is priced at £24,000. As there are so few Hawkings around it is very hard to say whether this is totally over the top or not. I know that a signed thesis sold for hundreds of thousands but that is obviously a very different kettle of fish. Another signed book sold for around $20,000 I think but that was not so nice - Hawking's signature was amongst a whole list of others.
On a more general level, I think this autograph raises a couple of other interesting questions:
- Is the signature of someone who cannot write properly for any reason (illness, blindness etc.) just too tough to authenticate, with a negative impact on value?
- Can a signature be so rare that this actually negatively impacts the value?
I have a reason for asking these questions as (as some of you might remember) I have a Ray Charles that raises similar questions.
It actually amazes me that there are not more Hawking signatures around from his pre-illness days.
My opinion is that the autograph is too shaky, and will be so different each time he signed, that is it effectively impossible to authenticate. That doesn't mean there won't be authenticators who claim that they can authenticate it, but surely his traits wouldn't fit any pattern that could be accurately identified.
I have seen his books, signed with a fingerprint, sell for good money - although not £24,000. Personally I feel that the attraction of an autograph is that it's like a kind of trademark that immediately identifies the signer. I wouldn't have the same feeling with a Hawking autograph, as you don't really know what you should be looking at.
If you did want to buy it the provenance would be imperative and need to be "rock" solid. Even then £24,000 seems too much for a book written by someone else. That's my two cents anyway ...
What year was this book published/signed? He could no longer sign by the end of the 70's. This example appears more legible then this 1973 signature:
This Spike Milligan book is 1974 or later?
It is being sold as "one of his last" but I read he was able to sign until C. 1980? Provenance looks good. Not so sure about the price though...
Auction says it was a year before he was confined to a wheelchair but I am reading he was in one from 1969 on of before 1974? What are you finding Eva?
1974 is the year Hawking first published the paper that would lead to "Hawking Radiation". Perhaps that influences the value? Was it mentioned?
Hi Eric, it is being sold by a high-end book dealer in London. I think you must have Googled the relevant site already given what you write but here is a link:
I don't know that much about Hawking or how his disability progressed. I wouldn't have thought his ability to walk would have such a direct link to his writing abilities but the seller mentions that the other signed book was also from 1974.
£24,000 is obviously not a snip and I am never likely to spend anything like that on a single autograph but I have a feeling that the price is not that unreasonable.
If it is year and solid provenance in play here I likely agree.
I would need to delve in to the provenance but it looks ok.
if it’s a fake then I don’t know what the worlds coming to
I did not check the provenance details - that may offer some additional assurance - but at first glance I do not like the sig. I would expect, as with the link to another one that someone provided, that there would be some letters with bold, straight strokes. This sig is entirely shaky, though.
I got one of the thumbprint books back in the day, but before they had that rubber stamp made. Mine just has a handwritten (and signed) statement from his assistant.next to the blob of ink.