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Mould from penicillin discovery is set for auction

By Tom Pugh

Published 13/06/2015

Auctioneer Catherine Southon with a specimen of mould linked to Sir Alexander Fleming's research, which is among items to be auctioned next month
Auctioneer Catherine Southon with a specimen of mould linked to Sir Alexander Fleming's research, which is among items to be auctioned next month

An old mould linked to British scientist Sir Alexander Fleming's research which led to the discovery of penicillin is set to fetch thousands of pounds at auction next month.

The specimen, which is mounted on paper signed by Sir Alexander, was part of ground-breaking work that revolutionised medicine and went on to save millions of lives worldwide.

It is being auctioned in Surrey on July 8 with letters: one from the Scots-born Nobel Prize-winning scientist and the other from Elizabeth Montgomery, believed to be his housekeeper.

In 1955 the pair wrote to a Mr and Mrs Bax, who lived opposite Sir Alexander, to thank them for their help when they saw burglars trying to break into his home.

Ms Montgomery, who lived next door to Sir Alexander, included the specimen, Penicillium Notatum, with her letter of thanks as a "souvenir of the Fleming family".

Her letter ended: "As though you didn't know - but just in case - this said affair is a blob of the original mould of penicillin, not to be confused with Gorgonzola cheese!!!"

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