Important and very revealing Einstein notes sell for $578,500

Christie's Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana and A Fine Collection of William Faulkner sale realised $3,343,063 and was sold 75% by lot and 63% by value, on Tuesday (June 22).

Top lot in the sale was Albert Einstein's signed autograph manuscript, constituting Einstein's lecture "The Origin of the General Theory of Relativity."

Dated to June 1933, the historic document eventually sold for $578,500.

Among the most important Einstein documents to appear on the market in recent times, the manuscript contains a very revealing account by Einstein of his arduous efforts to generalise the General Theory of Relativity, beginning with his formation of the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905.

Einstein's 'journey' comprises postulating a new, post-Newtonian theory of gravitation and, as a further consequence, establishing his famous equivalence of mass and energy equation (E = mc2).

Einstein's signed autograph manuscript containing his "The Origin of the
General Theory of Relativity" lecture

Today, it's generally held that these momentous discoveries constitute perhaps the most far-reaching, fundamental scientific advances of the Twentieth Century - making this a crucial historical document.

"We were pleased with the results for the superb private collection of William Faulkner, which witnessed strong international bidding from private and trade clients and institutions," said Francis Wahlgren, Christie's International Head of Books and Manuscripts.

"Collectors were drawn to the impressive selection on offer where rare manuscripts and first editions brought exceptional prices." 

Elsewhere, other recent high-profile Einstein sales included Heritage Auction Galleries' sale of a signed and typed letter from 1952, addressed to scientist and author Kenneth Heuer.

The letter is especially important at it gives a singular insight into one of the greatest issues to hang-over Einstein's legacy - the use of atomic power.

About the technical development in the field of atomic energy: I was not interested in that matter for years but rather disgusted by the course it has taken in the hands of short-sighted politicians... To me it is enough to know that the continuation of the existence of human beings is in serious doubt if no supra-national solution can be achieved." - Albert Einstein

The historic letter sold for a final price of $11,950 in Dallas, Texas. Other lots in the auction included a photograph (shown top right) of Einstein taken by the Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002). The signed copy, 47 of 100, realised $4,182.

Meanwhile, if you missed out on the above sales, there are presently two signed personal letters by Einstein available on the collectors' markets. Also for sale is a rare and signed 50-year retrospective album by Yousuf Karsh, today recognised as the one the greatest portrait photographers of all time.


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