James D Watson's Nobel Prize medal to make $3.5m?

James D Watson's Nobel Prize medal is to auction in a dedicated sale at Christie's New York on December 4 with a $2.5m-3.5m estimate.

Watson was awarded the medal for his work on unravelling the structure of DNA, alongside fellow researchers Maurice Wilkins, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin.

Watson Nobel medal
Watson's Nobel Prize medal was awarded for his work on the structure of DNA

Franklin, who took the x-ray that showed the DNA molecule, died four years before the team were nominated (the prize is never awarded posthumously).

The medal is offered alongside a letter of provenance from Watson that reads, in part: "I knew I would soon auction off my 1962 Gold Nobel Medal the moment I learned that Francis Crick's Gold Medal, May 2013, had been so sold for more than two million dollars�Ǫ

"Now I plan to give away to charitable bodies at least one half of my after taxes auction proceeds. My early days as a youthful ornithologist have made me long focused on the preservation of our local Long Island landscape�Ǫ

"Only through continued major philanthropy will the academic world provide environments where great ideas and decency prevail."

A letter from Francis Crick to his son outlining the discovery and its implications made $6m at Christie's last year, setting a new world record for a letter at auction.

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