NEW YORK, United States of America
Albert Einstein’s letter where he penned notes challenging the concept of religion has broken sale records at auction, fetching close to $2.9 million.
Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics.
Auctioned on phone between two clients, the letter scooped a grand total of $2,892,500 on Tuesday.
Einstein’s letter was sold alongside other fine printed books and manuscripts, including Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” which achieved $162,500. In total, the auction drew a combined sum of $8,318,125.
The head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s noted that: “Collectors worldwide competed very strongly, in the room, over the phone and online, for this finely curated auction which comprised masterpieces and fresh-to-market property across a wide range of subjects,”
Written in 1954 in German before his death, his letter is a reaction to Gutkind’s 1952 book, “Choose Life: the Biblical Call to Revolt.”
While Einstein acknowledges that he and Gutkind had a lot in common “with regard to the factual attitude to life and to human community,” he launches into a personal diatribe against religion.
Einstein writes: “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish,”
“No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change anything about this (for me),” he concludes.
Einstein, who was a German-born Jew, also acknowledges his love and shared identity with the Jewish people, but calls Judaism, “like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition.”
He continues to write: “The Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and in whose mentality I feel profoundly anchored, still for me does not have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples,”
The auction house is known to sell one of the best books and manuscripts from the world’s best known writers, scientist and philosophers.
The auction house displayed a typed 1939 letter from Einstein to former US President Franklin Roosevelt in 2002, regarding the dangers of nuclear bomb technology. The letter also sold for more than $2 million.