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Spink Auctions: Pioneering Scientist’s Medals to Go under Hammer in London

gold medal - Harold King

The medals belonging to a pioneering scientist are set to go under the hammer in London on 21st July in the Spink sale of Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals and Militaria. Of particular note within the sale are two most interesting items. Lot 167 and 168 were awarded to a Dr Harold King; who is most well-known for his work into the South-American poison curare. Curare has been used for centuries as a paralyzing poison by a vast number of the indigenous peoples of South America. Although a well-known poison, the exact mechanism remained an unknown at the beginning of the 20th Century.

King successfully discovered its toxin in 1935 and confirmed the structure in later discoveries. His breakthrough work initially assisted surgical work, but his research eventually led to the development of the first widely available drugs in the fight against hypertension (high blood pressure).

His studies were pioneering in furthering the work of Sir Henry Hallett Dale, the father of the understanding of neurotransmission.

King graduated from Bangor University in 1909, later working in the Wellcome Laboratories and for the Medical Research Council, for the National Institute for Medical Research until his retirement in 1950. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1933.

His CBE is to be sold alongside his extremely rare Hanbury Gold Medal of 1941, and his Addingham Gold Medal. The Hanbury Medal is awarded “…for high excellence in the prosecution or promotion of original research in the natural history and chemistry of drugs” and reflects the importance of Dr King’s achievement.

Dr Harold King medal. Images courtesy Spink and Son.

Dr Harold King medal. Images courtesy Spink and Son.

The medals are set to be auctioned by Spink & Son, with a combined estimate of £1,600-2,300 (US$2,080-2,990).

Auctioneer Marcus Budgen said “The achievements of Dr King and the scientific importance of his discoveries make these items extremely rare. We expect a lot of interest in these exceptional awards”

For more information, please contact Marcus Budgen at +44 (0)20 7563 4059 or [email protected].

SPINK LONDON | 69 Southampton Row | Bloomsbury | London | WC1B 4ET

About Spink

Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide. Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year. Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.

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