Illusionist Uri Geller shows a letter from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein he bought during an auction in Jerusalem. Illusionist Uri Geller shows a letter from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein he bought during an auction in Jerusalem. Illusionist Uri Geller shows a letter from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein he bought during an auction in Jerusalem. (Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen / Getty Images)

Michael Jackson's best friend buys Einstein letter at auction

World-renowned mentalist and magician Uri Geller found a personal connection to one note in particular.

What do Michael Jackson and Albert Einstein have in common? Uri Geller.

The 70-year-old Israeli mentalist and magician just purchased a 1954 letter written by Einstein. The missive was part of a cache of letters that Einstein had written to his colleague David Bohm, and went up for auction yesterday in Jerusalem.

Bohm was an American physicist who had temporarily relocated to Brazil and was miserable. Einstein attempted to cheer up his friend and, in the letter purchased by Geller, suggested Bohm might want to move to Israel. Einstein called the Mediterranean country "intellectually active and interesting," in the note. Indeed, Bohm did eventually make his way to a teaching position in the coastal city of Haifa – and it's where he met his wife, Sarah. The letter held special resonance for Geller, who has lived in Israel his entire life.

Geller became famous in the 1980s and 1990s for introducing the mentalism skill of bending spoons to the world. To this day, he serves as a father figure to today's mentalists, including fellow Israeli Oz Pearlman. Geller is probably just as famous for his close friendship with Michael Jackson, and was often seen off to the side when the pop superstar was photographed. Jackson even served as best man when Geller renewed his wedding vows in 2001.

Einstein bequeathed his papers to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which is home to the official Albert Einstein archives. But items that belonged to others, like this letter, are often sold to collectors.

Six decades after his death, Einstein memorabilia continues to flood the marketplace. In 2015, a batch of Einstein's letters fetched $420,000 at auction. Back in October, we reported on a letter that Einstein wrote to his son that was auctioned for around $100,000. A letter written by Einstein about his theory of relativity was auctioned off earlier this year. An autographed copy of the iconic photo of Einstein sticking his tongue out sold for $125,000 at auction. Perhaps the renewed interest in Einstein objects is, in part, due to a National Geographic TV series about the beloved genius. Yesterday's auction – which netted $210,000 – just happened to coincide with the show's finale.

"I screamed 'Wow!' when I first saw the letters," Gal Wiener, who organized yesterday's auction, told From the Grapevine from his office in Jerusalem. "I was very enthusiastic. It's not something you see that often." He told us he's exploring auctioning off other memorabilia, perhaps from Einstein's wife Elsa.

If these historic writings are out of your budget, we do have a possible workaround. A German designer has created a font that looks just like Einstein's handwriting. Using that, you could practically recreate these letters on your own.

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