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Turing papers go begging

by Sarah Griffiths on 23 November 2010, 16:16

Tags: General Business

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Up for grabs

What is rumoured to be the most complete collection of work by World War Two codebreaker Alan Turning has failed to sell at auction.

Christie's auction house said the bundle of papers failed to meet its reserve price so there is still a chance campaigners from Bletchley Park could eventually snap them up if they raise enough cash to put the work on display for the public.

According to the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones who was at the auction and Tweeting, the final bid was for £240,000, which was clearly below the reserve and short of the £300,000 to £500,000 list price for the piece of computing history.

Apparently Christie's and the owner of the papers will now decide what to do next but there could be a possibility of a private sale or re-sale.

An eleventh hour campaign was on to save the papers and keep them in Bletchley Park where Turning worked as a codebreaker during the war, led by one supporter of the Bletchley Park Trust desperate to preserve the collection of 15 of Turing's 18 published papers.

Shortly before the auction Google stepped in to back the Bletchley bid, donating $100,000 or £62,700 towards the hefty total needed to secure the prize.

With Twitter ablaze during the auction, ‘ghalfacree' the fan behind the Turing campaign thanked supporters for their money and hard work and said: "Christie's has promised to ring me if there's to be an aftersale. If not, perhaps we can get a message to the seller?"

While ‘bletchleypark' tweeted: "Disappointed that #BPark 's bid was unsuccessful. However, the #turing papers remain unsold."

HEXUS will of course try and follow what happens next.

In related news, the Apple 1 computer reportedly built in Steve Wozniak's garage fetched £133,250 and was right on the money according to Christie's estimate of between £100,000 and £150,000. While we currently do not know who bought the retro machine, it is rumoured that Wozniak was in the room to watch his creation go under the hammer.



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