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  • Alan Turing psychiatrist postcard to sell in February
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • alanauctioncomputerdrexplainsfranzgreenbaumjosephuskilledpostcardpspsychiatristsentsoldturing

Alan Turing psychiatrist postcard to sell in February

A postcard sent by Alan Turing to his psychiatrist and friend Dr Franz Greenbaum will cross the block at RR Auction on February 8.

The 1953 postcard reads: "I hope you are all enjoying your selves as well as I am here at Corfu. It is tremendously hot and one wears bathing things all day."

Alan Turing postcards

Alan Turing is the father of computer science 

Turing is the father of computer science.

He was also behind the successful decoding of the Enigma code during the second world war, which gave the allies a significant edge and dramatically shortened the conflict.

The British government convicted Turing of homosexuality in 1952 and sentenced him to chemical castration.

He killed himself two years later.                                                                                         

Unsurprisingly, given his studious temperament, the postcard is far from a saucy seaside design.  

It features a depiction from historian and military leader Flavius Josephus’ book Antiquities of the Jews.

The postcard was probably chosen in reference to the ‘Josephus Problem’, a maths puzzle popular with computer scientists. 

In the book, Josephus explains he managed to survive a suicide pact wherein each of his men stabbed another to avoid capture by the Romans.

At the end only Josephus and one other man were left. The problem asks where Josephus stood to avoid being killed.

Turing’s signature is extremely rare and commands a premium at auction.

This card last sold for £13,750 ($17,172) at Bonhams in 2015.  

Also in 2015, a Turing letter explaining the rules of solitaire to Greenbaum’s young daughter, Maria, sold for £40,000 ($62,943).

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • alanauctioncomputerdrexplainsfranzgreenbaumjosephuskilledpostcardpspsychiatristsentsoldturing