Old Mold Sold For Almost $15,000!
Last Wednesday at an international auction held by the house of Bonham's, an old mold was sold for almost $15,000 dollars to an undisclosed buyer. But the old mold in question is not just any kind of mold. In fact, the swatch of old mod comes from the laboratory of the late Sir Alexander Fleming, the well-known scientist who first the world's first antibiotic, penicillin.
Enclosed in a round glass container, the old mold is said to be 90-years-old. It came from the collection of Sir Fleming's niece. At the back of the round containers, the late Sir Alexander Fleming inscribes it as a mold that first help makes penicillin.
But that might be too good to be true. The late Sir Fleming, who was born in Scotland, made at least dozens of these mementos containing these molds. The molds, however, are derived from the original fungus that saved millions of lives upon its discovery in 1928.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Bonham's Director of Books and Manuscripts, Matthew Haley says Sir Alexander Fleming "sent these samples out to dignitaries and to people in the scientific world, almost as a kind of holy relic."
Famous people who received these mold mementos include Pope Pius XII, the actress, Marlene Dietrich, and Winston Churchill. One of the recipients of the mementos is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburg, received multiple copies of these mold mementos. The prince was heard saying that he received the mold mementos every time he met Sir Fleming.
The discovery of penicillin, a rare strain of mood, came somewhat accidentally. Upon returning from his vacation at the countryside, Sir Alexander Fleming found a petri dish overgrown with bacteria except for a small portion of the dish where the mold was growing. The doctor later realized that the mold was killing off the bacteria surrounding it.
With the collaboration with scientists from Oxford University, the penicillin was further developed and mass produced. The discovery of penicillin which was once deemed as a miracle drug reduced deaths caused by infections like rheumatic fever and pneumonia. In 1945, Sir Alexander Fleming along with scientists from Oxford University, Ernst Boris Chain and Howard Walter Florey were awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine.