1927 Nobel Prize in chemistry medal up for auction

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The 1927 Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to German biochemist Dr Heinrich Otto Wieland

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If you've ever wanted a Nobel Prize and don't have the time to come up with a major intellectual contribution, you can just buy one… the medal, that is. Not the prize itself. At Nate D Sanders Auctions, the 1927 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is on the block today. It was originally awarded to German biochemist Dr Heinrich Otto Wieland and, according to Sanders, it's the first Nobel Prize in Chemistry medal to go up for auction, and the eighth in all.

Wieland won the prize for his contributions to chemistry by investigating bile acids and related substances. Bile is the mixture of fluids produced by the liver and discharged into the small intestine via the gallbladder to help digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Wieland, along with his colleague Adolf Windaus, determined the chemical structure of cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid, and worked out their relationship to one another, as well as the chemical structure of cholesterol.

According to Sanders, Wieland was also notable for his protection of Jewish students from Nazi persecution during the 1930s and 40s.

Awarded by Swedish Royal Academy of Science, the 23-karat Nobel gold medal features a relief of Alfred Nobel on the front and on the reverse is the relief of two women below which is engraved Wieland's name. It comes with a letter of authenticity from Wieland’s grandson.

The Wieland Nobel Prize medal is up for auction until 4:00 pm PDT with a starting price of US$325,000.

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