Rare Turing notebook sells for $1m in New York

2015-04-13 21:06
(Bebeto Matthews, AP)

(Bebeto Matthews, AP)

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New York - A long-lost notebook owned by British mathematician and World War II code breaker Alan Turing sold at auction in New York on Monday for $1m, Bonhams auction house said.

The sale of the recently discovered notebook comes at a time of enormous interest in Turing's life and work generated by Oscar-winning movie The Imitation Game.

The manuscript, which sold for $1.025m in two minutes of bidding, dates back to the mid-1940s when Turing was working to break the Nazi Enigma code at Britain's Bletchley Park.

The identity of the buyer was not immediately known.

Turing was a computer scientist, philosopher and cryptologist ahead of his time who played a crucial role in breaking Enigma.

"We have no idea how many lives he saved. It is estimated that he shortened the war by two years," said Cassandra Hatton, director of Bonhams' history of science and technology department.

The notebook is believed to be the only extensive Turing autograph manuscript in existence and gives an insight into the man whose work when he was just 24 led to the universal computer machine.

It features 56 pages of Turing's notes on the foundations of mathematical notations and computer science.

Bonhams also sold an original 1944 Enigma Machine, which is still fully operational, for $269 000 at the same sale.

It had been valued at $140 000-180 000.

Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952 when it was a crime in Britain. Forced to undergo chemical castration, Turing killed himself in 1954 at the age of 41.

He was officially pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II only in 2013, six decades after his death.

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