Albert Einstein’s personal telescope is expected to make around $200,000-300,000 at Christie’s on December 5.
This is the only piece of Einstein’s scientific equipment ever to come to auction.
The first record of the lot is a photograph of Einstein’s study from 1927, where it can be seen in the foreground.
Einstein gifted this telescope to a friend in 1938
Einstein was visiting the US when the Nazis took control of Germany in 1933. He did not return to Berlin and arranged for his possessions to be sent over, including the contents of his study.
In 1938, he gifted the telescope to his tax advisor and friend Leo Mattersdorf – who was also president of the Amateur Astronomers Association.
Einstein writes in a letter to Mattersdorf dated January 23, 1938: “I have a pretty telescope standing in my room: lens diameter 3½ inches; focal length roughly 1½ meters.
“It sits on a three-footed wooden stand and gives sharp images.
“As soon as I have a car at my disposal again, I will bring it to you. If you have someone who is going to be passing in the vicinity, he could also pick it up.”
The lot has been passed down in Mattersdorf’s family ever since.
Demand for Einstein memorabilia is at an all time high. His pocket watch, another highly symbolic piece given his work on the nature of time, sold for £266,500 ($358,685) last year.
It’s probable that this piece will achieve a similar result.
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