Google have done a fabulous thing today (massive thanks to @SimonMeacham). They have given Bletchley Park $100 000 towards the purchase of a lot for auction at Christies tomorrow, which includes the codebreaker Max Newman’s copies of many of Turing’s papers. Some of the papers have on them comments from Newman, a friend of Turing, who testified in his defence at his trial. Turing’s signature is on at least one document as is Turing’s mother’s signature in the Newman household visitors book, a few days after Turing died.These papers belong at Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers, where these two codebreakers worked together side by side, helping to save millions of lives during World War Two. There is a problem though. The lot of for auction has been set at the price of £300-£500k!! So fabulous though the Google donation is, it is not enough to be able to buy the papers. An amazing amount has also been raised by a fabulous chap Gareth Halfacree. Gareth took it upon himself just a few days ago to try to raise the money to buy the papers from public donation. He has done an absolutely stupendous job raising over £18k in just a few days. So, thus far we have $100k plus £18k = not enough :((
We have contacted Christies today asking them if they would allow Bletchley Park to make an offer on the papers before the auction in the interest of housing the papers in the place where they belong, but were given short shrift with Christies stating:At this late stage, Christie’s would only consider withdrawing the lot from sale if the appeal were to make a serious offer. This would have to be at the high estimate, £500,000, and any offer made would be subject to Christie’s buyer’s premium (25% of the bid price up to and including £25,000 and 20% of the excess of the hammer price up to £500,000).