ESTIMATE: $1,000,000 - $2,000,000
ON VIEW IN CHRISTIE’S LONDON GALLERIES AT SOUTH KENSINGTON MAY 22, 23, 27 & 28;
ON VIEW IN NEW YORK ROCKEFELLER CENTER JUNE 14-18, PRIOR TO JUNE 19 SALE
A prototype microchip, one of the most important advancements in the history of computing,
made by Tom Yeargan for Jack Kilby, Texas Instruments, (1958), accompanied by a 3-page statement
by Yeargan and another prototype silicon chip. Estimate: $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.
New York – A Nobel Prize-winning artifact of computing history goes on sale at Christie’s New York on June 19: A prototype integrated circuit used by Jack Kilby (1923-2005) at Texas Instruments in 1958 to demonstrate his invention of the integrated circuit on a single chip. Virtually the birth certificate of the modern computing era, this prototype helped spawn the microchip revolution. From the clock on a microwave oven, through tablets and laptops, to the Large Hadron Collider, microchips pervade the electronic devices we use on a daily basis. Kilby’s work at Texas Instruments enabled further technological breakthroughs that dramatically reduced the size and cost of computing power.
Estimated at $1,000,000 - $2,000,000, this prototype integrated circuit was built between July 18 and September 12, 1958, of a doubly diffused germanium wafer with flying gold wire and four leads by Tom Yeargan (1920-2001), a member of the team that executed Kilby’s theories on how to bring miniaturization to the giant computers of the first half of the 20th century. The chip is mounted on glass and enclosed in a plastic case belonging to Yeargan, with a label signed by Jack Kilby, and is accompanied by another prototype, a silicon circuit with five gold and platinum leads, and a three-page statement by Tom Yeargan on the chronology and building of the invention of the integrated circuit, dated March 6, 1964. The lot is part of the Sale of “Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana,” in New York. The lot will be on view in London, May 22, 23, 27 and 28, at Christie’s galleries in South Kensington, before traveling to the U.S. for a viewing at Christie’s New York Rockefeller Center galleries, June 14 – 18.
Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's has conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting Private Sales for clients and online sales are offered year-round across all categories. Christie’s global presence is spread across a network of international salerooms and 61 representatives and offices. Christies.com provides detailed articles and videos on the objects offered for sale alongside the latest advances in digital viewing tools to make Christie’s accessible to all.
*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.