Awarded to Francis Crick, who along with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1962, the medal's opening bid price has been set at $250,000, ABC news reported Monday.
It is only the second Nobel medal offered for sale in 70 years; the Nobel Prize awarded to Niels Bohrs' son, Aage Niels Bohr, was sold in Denmark in late October of last year, Heritage Auctions said.
The Crick medal, kept in a safe deposit box in California since his widow died in 2007, has been put up for auction by Crick's heirs.
Crick's family said a portion of the proceeds would go to the Francis Crick Institute of disease research scheduled to open in London in 2015.
The diploma presented 50 years ago by the Nobel committee to Crick along with the medal is also up for auction.
"For most of that time, the Nobel Prize and the unique personal diploma have been locked up," Kindra Check, Crick's granddaughter, said in a statement from Heritage Auctions.
"By auctioning his Nobel it will finally be made available for public display and be well looked after. Our hope is that, by having it available for display, it can be an inspiration to the next generation of scientists.
"My granddad was honored to have received the Nobel Prize, but he was not the type to display his awards; his office walls contained a large chalkboard, artwork and a portrait of Charles Darwin."