A collection of artefacts from the archive of Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming realised £12,500 ($15,347) at Bonhams London on March 1.
The lot featured papers, photographs and notebooks alongside a sealed slide of Penicillin mould signed on the reverse by Dr Fleming.
Fleming noticed that Penicillin mould killed all the bacteria around it
Fleming’s discovery of the bacteria-killing mould in 1928 led to the development of antibiotics. It’s regarded as perhaps the greatest medical breakthrough of all time.
Antibiotics dramatically increased lifespan, allowing for the routine treatment of formerly fatal infections.
A piece of the original penicillin mould culture sold at auction last year, achieving $40,000 against a $20,000 estimate.
A signed copy of George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) made £22,500 ($27,624).
It’s inscribed: “To, F.G. Westrope, with very best wishes, from, 'George Orwell'".
Francis Westrope was the owner of Booklover’s Corner, a bookshop in north London, which Orwell worked at and lived above between 1934 and 1936.
These were formative years for Orwell. It was Francis (and wife Myfanwy) who introduced him to politics. Through them he became a passionate advocate for democratic socialism.
While he largely enjoyed his time at Booklover’s Corner, he complained to a friend in one letter: “In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops".
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