This is a 1993 hardback copy of Stephen Hawking’s bestselling popular science book A Brief History of Time, featuring an extremely rare thumbprint signature from the author on the title page. Signed in the 1990s. Alongside is a brief inscription that reads: “Thumbprint of SW Hawking, witnessed by Susan Masey”.
Masey served as Hawking’s personal assistant for many years, leaving her employment in 2004.
By the late 1970s, Hawking’s ALS had progressed to the point that he could no longer write. He would not become globally famous until the end of the 1980s.
These thumbprint signatures were his way of showing appreciation to fans and well-wishers. Few have ever appeared at auction. Another thumbprint signed copy of A Brief History of Time (from Hawking's personal collection) sold for £68,750 ($86,697) at auction in November 2018.
This example has never been read. The condition is very good, with some light bumping to the top of the dust jacket.
Originally sold by respected autograph auctioneer Richard Davie in the 1990s.
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About Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking was a young graduate studying physics at Cambridge University when he received a diagnosis of ALS, an incurable form of motor neurone disease. Doctors gave him two years. In the face of this progressive illness, he continued his work, producing several brilliant papers on black holes. In 1988 he published A Brief History of Time, one of the most successful popular science books ever printed. Hawking became a major celebrity – easily the most famous scientist of his generation. He died in 2018, aged 76.