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DNA signed by Watson and Crick

WATSON, JAMES and FRANCIS CRICK. (English) “Molecular structure of nucleic acids. A structure of deoxyribose nucleic acid.”

Offprint from: Nature Vol. 171 (April 25, 1953) , April 25, 1953

13, (1) pp.  Original self-wrappers.  Fine.

A fine signed copy of the famous DNA offprint, signed by Watson and Crick on the first page and thus eminently suited for exhibition.

This is the celebrated announcement of the discovery of the structure of DNA, the cornerstone event in modern genetics and biology and one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. The first paper in this 3-paper offprint is the original announcement of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

The Watson and Crick paper is accompanied by two important related papers on DNA from the same issue of Nature, one by Wilkins, Stokes and Wilson, the other by Franklin and Gosling (containing the famous x-ray photograph of DNA).  The offprint is printed from the same type as the journal printing.  The article was set in a single column of monotype.  The offprint was printed from that monotype, while the journal printing was made in double columns  from stereotype plates taken from the monotype.

Watson and Crick concluded this paper with a classic understatement: “The structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest. . . . It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.”

No scientific discovery has ever had such far-reaching implications for the betterment of mankind. In 1962 Watson, Crick, and Maurice Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize for medicine.


WATSON, JAMES D. & FRANCIS CRICK. Signed photograph of Watson and Crick with their three-dimensional model of the double-helix DNA molecule. 8 x 10 in. (image size 8 x 8 1⁄4 in.). Fine.

This the great DNA photograph, signed by Watson and Crick in the white lower margin. This photograph was one of four similar poses made by amateur photographer Anthony Barrington Brown at the Cavendish Laboratory soon after the announcement.

Crick concluded his 1962 Nobel lecture, “[I]n spite of the great complexity of protein synthesis and in spite of the considerable technical difficulties in synthesizing polynucleotides with defined sequences it is not unreasonable to hope that all these points will be clarified in the near future, and that the genetic code will be completely established on a sound experimental basis within a few years.”

two items: $75,000