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Notebook belonging to gay codebreaker Alan Turing sells for $1 million

Joseph McCormick April 14, 2015
Computer scientist Alan Turing

Alan Turing, the grandfather of modern computing

A notebook belonging to late gay codebreaker and computer genius has sold at auction for over $1 million (£677,150).

Turing, often hailed as the grandfather of modern computing, was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 after having sex with a man, and was chemically castrated, barred from working for GCHQ, and eventually driven to suicide.

He previously worked at Bletchley Park to crack the German Enigma codes, which is widely believed to have meant an earlier end to World War II.

The notebook, which included handwritten notes about computer science and maths, sold at Bonhams in New York in around three minutes. It actually sold at $850,000 (£574,000) but the commission meant that it passed its $1 million estimate.

In addition to the notebook, an Enigma machine, which was used to crack the German codes, sold for $269,000 (£181,000). The buyers of the items wished to remain anonymous.

Relatives of codebreaker Alan Turing delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street, calling for all men persecuted for their sexuality to be pardoned.

An apology for Alan Turing was issued by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009, and the Queen in 2013 granted a rare posthumous pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

More: Alan Turing, auction, Bletchley Park, dollars, money, notebook, world war 2, World War II

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