Einstein’s Rare manuscript auctioned for record-crashing $13 million

Einstein’s Rare manuscript auctioned for record-crashing $13 million

Albert Einstein’s 54-page manuscript auctioned

On Tuesday (November 23), a 54-page book co-written by Albert Einstein and Swiss engineer Michele Besso sold at auction for a record-breaking $13 million.

The book has set a new record for the most expensive autographed scientific document ever sold, according to Christie’s auction house, which sponsored the transaction. The buyer’s identity has not been revealed, while Christie’s reported that the auction drew buyers from all across the world.

The document in question was written between June 1913 and early 1914, when Einstein and Besso were testing equations. Einstein’s theory of relativity would eventually be built on this foundation.

The manuscript has 26 pages written in Einstein’s hand, 24 pages written in Besso’s hand, and three pages written jointly by the two, according to Christie’s. Many pages also have margin notes, such as Einstein’s delighted “stimmt!” next to his equation.

Features of the Manuscript

According to Christie’s, the document is rare because Einstein rarely preserved draughts of his own work and correspondences. On the other hand, Besso preserved much of his collaboration with Einstein for posterity. This document is one of just two surviving draughts that shows the basis of general relativity, thanks to Besso.

Even for Einstein’s works, the sale came with a steep price tag. A letter from Einstein to a rival physicist, which includes his famous E=mc2 equation, sold for $1.2 million at auction in May 2021. Two short writings by Einstein to a Tokyo hotel’s bellboy is sold for $1.5 million in 2017. One of which described his “formula” for happiness.

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