Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options

    Description

    Albert Einstein Autograph Letter Signed " Albert." Three pages of a bifolium, 5.25" x 8.25", no place; no date [ circa June 1918 according to the published letters of Michele Besso]. In a letter to Besso, written in German, Einstein predicts his "hypothetical Nobel Prize" in 1918, four years before he won it for his Special Theory of Relativity. Einstein also critiques fellow physicist Hermann Weyl and analyzes the divorce settlement with his first wife. A translation of the letter reads in part:

    " Dear Michele! Seeing your handwriting always makes me happy in a very special way, for nobody is as dear to me as you are and knows me as well as you do and is as kindly disposed towards me. Don't waste another thought on my adventure in correspondence with Anna [Besso's wife], I don't want to bear a grudge against her and want to be grateful to her for her effort. But I must say one thing. Nobody has ever been so outrageously rude to me, and I hope that in future nobody else will be! Weyl is an ingenious and fine chap, but his concept of electricity is no good; I wrote to Dallenbach about this in more detail, nothing new, by the way. But I will not try to persuade either of you, rather leave that for time to accomplish. I would have loved to have heard Weyl's lecture; all of his thinking is so inventive and beautifully shaped. And he certainly knows his math!!

    Write a book on statistical mechanics? I would not have the patience. Gibbs' book, by the way, is a masterpiece, though hard to read, and the most important thoughts are between the lines...Well, you rascal - recommending to a friend that he should write books is easy, but where, then, is your book, about which you spoke to me quite seriously last year? Par nobile fratrum! ['What a pair we are!' in Latin] Now about the contract. I am very reluctant to propose new changes or addenda to Mileva, considering that she is satisfied now. I am sure that she will handle the money with care after my death; therefore, I do not want to burden her with controls, so let us leave off the addendum to 2). The addendum to 3) will not apply, because the interest on a hypothetical Nobel Prize will not exceed Fr. 8,000. Finally, I cannot possibly ask my uncle to provide for my boys as well; in fact, I would not want this at all. Besides, who knows what part of his splendor our glorious time will still leave him. I am very skeptical.

    In addition to what we just reached an agreement on, Miza [Mileva] will receive Fr. 5,000 at the time of my death, and, furthermore, she still has savings of Fr. 10,000 (her dowry). If you add to this the fact that her parents are not exactly poor, it must be said that the children are provided for quite decently, though not magnificently - incomparably better, certainly, than I was provided for at the time...My health is unquestionably better than last year. Elsa is untiring in cooking my chicken feed for me every three hours, and I do very little, I stay on my balcony most of the time. Everybody says that I never looked as well as I do now. Meanwhile, peace will have to come one of these days, so travel will be easier again. I am really sad that I am not able to see my boys. In spite of Miza's laments in this regard, however, I think that it does not matter very much to them. One more thing. Tete [Einstein's son, Eduard] wants a nice book from me as a present (a travelogue). With all the censorship, sending it from here would be very difficult. So please buy one and send it on my behalf. Today I received a letter from him for the first time..." The letter is marked with paste by the censor, due to the increased censorship during World War I. At the conclusion of the letter, Besso has listed several books to fulfill Einstein's request for a travelogue for his son, partly affecting the signature on the last page.

    Condition: Flattened mail folds. Uneven toning throughout, with light chipping to the edges and corners. As mentioned, Besso's writing overlaps some of Einstein's signature. Censor marks throughout.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2020
    22nd Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 679

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Apr 22, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2022 March 19 Inaugural J. Doyle Dewitt Collection Americana & Political Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search