Einstein's poignant letter to son is up for auction
What's more, the handwritten document also includes a jaw-dropping scientific announcement from the famed genius.
A letter from a father to a son, while meaningful, is often not worth more money than the paper it's written on. Unless, of course, that father is Albert Einstein.
One such letter is being auctioned off this week by Boston-based RR Auctions. Bidding ends Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST, so hurry up. And bring your checkbook. It might get expensive.
"We expect it to sell for around $100,000 because of the scientific content in there," Robert Livingston, the Executive VP at RR Auction, told From The Grapevine this morning. "We've had a lot of letters to his son, but rarely has it mentioned something that amazing."
What Livingston is referring to is this line from Einstein's letter: "I am now very happy because I finally solved to my total satisfaction, after immensely intensive work, my gravitation-electricity problem. This, in a way, concludes my life’s work – the remainder simply is bonus material."
To be sure, the letter is a poignant one from father to son, and includes this line from the beloved genius: "It is with delight that I am detecting here a deep inner kinship between us, which I treasure. It seems to me it has been so long since I have seen you and I am longing to have you around me once again." The hand-written letter is signed "Papa." But, as noted, the famed physicist also goes on to reveal that he had finally solved the Unified Field Theory, something that had eluded him for many years.
“The letter reveals Einstein as both an accomplished physicist and a caring father," said Livingston. "This is a remarkable letter with simply extraordinary content."
Einstein bequeathed his papers to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which is home to the official Albert Einstein archives. But items which belonged to his children, like this letter, were often sold to collectors. Livingston said this particular letter came from a cache of documents that were sold in the early 1980s to an Einstein collector in California.
While RR Auction expects a high price for this letter, it won't be the most expensive piece of Einstein paraphernalia they've ever sold. That honor would go to the famous picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out.
This iconic photo of Einstein was taken on his 72nd birthday, March 14, 1951, by United Press International newswire photographer Art Sasse. After a birthday celebration, Einstein was mobbed by photographers and reporters as he made his way into a friend's car to return home to Princeton. Tired of smiling all day, Einstein stuck his tongue out.
The original photo shows Einstein sitting in between Dr. Frank Aydelotte, the former head of the Institute for Advanced Study, and his wife. When Einstein saw the photo in the newspaper the following day, he asked the photographer to crop out the other two people and send him nine prints. Einstein autographed those and sent them to friends.
On the one that was sold by RR Auctions last year, Einstein had written: "This gesture you will like, because it is aimed at all of humanity – Albert Einstein." The winning bid went for $125,000.
Livingston laughed as he recalled the story. "Can you imagine, Einstein himself recognized the PR value and the power of that image and symbolism of that tongue sticking out. To see the most famous image of Einstein autographed by him. It's just an amazing story and an amazing photo."
If tomorrow night's auction of Einstein's letter to his son is out of your budget, we have a workaround. A German designer has created a font that looks just like Einstein's handwriting. Using that, you could practically recreate this letter on your own.
And if you're still hankering for something else of Einstein's to own, here's another idea. His New York vacation home is up for sale. At least it was when we wrote about it back in July. So we called up Alexia Poulos of Douglas Elliman Real Estate to see if the home, at 33 Intervale Road on the north shore of Long Island, was still on the market after 138 days.
"Unfortunately," she told us. "A deal just died yesterday."
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Related Topics: Albert Einstein