Albert Einstein is the most famous scientist who ever lived.
As one of the 20th century’s great icons, he’s also one of the most in-demand signers on the market.
But how to tell whether you’ve got the real thing?
I’ve created a brief guide to identifying the great man’s handwriting style. Here are some pointers on what to look for.
Einstein’s handwriting has long been celebrated for its pleasing aesthetics (one admirer recently turned it into a font).
He pressed his pen only lightly against the paper, creating a smooth and flowing line. His lettering is rounded and littered with soaring bars. It’s always simple and easy to read.
Einstein's handwriting is precise but exuberant
There’s a playfulness to Einstein’s writing that was reflected in his cheery personality, but it’s tempered with precision. The dots over the “i”s are always directly above. He typically ends his signature with a full stop.
Letters and documents concerning Einstein’s scientific theories have long been the Holy Grail for collectors.
After all, this was his life’s work. His equations transformed our understanding of the universe (but if you’re anything like me, most of it goes completely over your head).
Still, you can still appreciate Einstein’s migraine-inducing pages of equations for their great beauty. He renders them like a calligrapher.
Einstein's mathematical formulae are hugely sought after
The record for any text in his hand is $1.5m - set for a note he wrote to a Japanese hotel bellboy offering his theory for happiness in 1922.
If you missed the sale last year, the note read: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness”. That meditative calm he sought throughout his life is reflected in his writing.
This note to a courier set a new record for Einstein at auction, in 2017
Einstein regularly switched between signing A. Einstein and Albert Einstein, although the former is slightly more common.
The “E” of Einstein is typically connected to the “i” with a gap between the “n”. There’s often another gap between the “t” and the “e”. These are the points where he lifted up his pen.
You can see the points where Einstein lifts his pen in his signature
Meanwhile, the bar of the “t” runs upwards to the end of the signature. As mentioned previously, he often finished with a full stop.
PS. Do you have an autograph you're looking to sell? I offer a competitive private treaty service. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.