back to article Google boosts Bletchley's Turing papers bid

Search and ad giant Google has handed $100,000 to Bletchley Park to back the museum's bid for the Alan Turing papers, which go on sale at Christie's later today. The auction, which will also see an Enigma machine and an Apple I go under the hammer, starts at 2pm. Bletchley Park is trying to raise the expected £300,000 to £500 …


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  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Waste of money?

    I could understand the price if we were possibly talking about his original hand-written drafts, but these are just offprints - i.e. published works probably available in thousands of copies in libraries world-wide. Why waste money on buying those - there's nothing special about them - just visit the Bodleian or BL and get a set of photocopies for about £20.

    If they've got that sorrt of dosh to spare how about spending it on repairs to Bletchley Park itself - or the Enigma machine (if they haven't already got one)

    1. smudge

      Why not do some minimal research before reacting?


      And Bletchley Park has an Enigma machine - which very famously got nicked and held to ransom a few years ago.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        maximal research done

        Yep - the Christie's site still says what it said earlier - it's a collection of printed offprints, some of them autographed by Turing, with a few other autographs of Turing (in his friend's visitors book) - all the articles are available in any good academic library - there is nothing exactly unique here. And it's not surprising that similar offprints haven't appeared at auction - why would anyone particularly bother to auction a collection of what is odd printed articles from journals. I've got an old copy of Practical Computing from 1980 with an original article about the ZX80 - I wonder if Christies would be interested in that? And how much am I bid for an autographed copy of Tony Bliar's 'memoirs' - genuine first edition, signed in his own handwriting. Okay, Turing autographs may be rare, but are a few autographs really worth half a million squids?

        Still thumbs down.

  2. Alan 6
    Gates Horns

    Overpriced fruit

    Kind of proves the Fanbois have more money than sense if an Apple 1 is predicted to cost three times as much as an Enigma machine...

    1. smudge
      Jobs Horns

      It's worse than that....'s only an Apple 1 motherboard.

      Having said that, if only 200 were made then they're much rarer than Enigma machines.

  3. Andy ORourke

    I mis-read

    "Alternatively, you should be able to pick up an Enigma machine for between £30,000 and £50,000"

    I thought it said:

    Alternatively, you should be able to pick up an AMIGA machine for between £30,000 and £50,000.

    I was going to climb into the attic tonight and blow the dust off my old A500!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I hate that

    Things which are important to the country are left to be begged and borrowed to purchase, while the twats at the British museum sit on piles of stolen (pillaged?) property and collectors pay a million for someone's dirty bed linnen in the name of "art"

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  6. billse10

    BBC guy just posted the papers didnt reach reserve anyway

    "At Christie's this afternoon the Turing papers failed to meet the reserve price, so it's still unclear whether they will end up at Bletchley Park

    But the Apple 1 - the world's first personal computer, in kit form - sold for £110,000 with Apple co- founder Steve Wozniak looking on. Not bad, as it originally retailed at $666.66"

  7. jphb

    Founding Fathers

    Since this collection didn't reach it's ridiculous reserve does BP get to keep Google's $100K and use it for something useful?

    Is Turing that important a figure in the history of computing anyway? He wrote academic papers on the principles of computability and could reasonably be described as a founding father of what is now called computer science. The honours, however, must go to the many early engineers who struggled with unfamiliar concepts and technology at its limits to make the earliest computers possible. They were more concerned with getting the machines to do basic arithmetic reliably and usefully than with the theoretical limits of computability. It is to them that the title "founding fathers of computing" should go.

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