Einstein’s Personal Letters and Photos Go On Sale

London | United Kingdom

The prestigious auction house, Christie’s, has announced an online sale scheduled from 2 to 9 May 2018 entitled Einstein and Family: Letters and Portraits. The collection consists of letters, photos and postcards exchanged between Albert Einstein and various members of his family. The collection, which is unique in every way, is expected to reveal interesting facts regarding the extraordinary life of the revered genius who is typically regarded as one of the 20th century’s most well-known scientists.


The collection of postcards and unseen photos was acquired from the archives of Einstein’s younger sister Maja Winteler-Einstein and her husband Paul Winteler. Maja and Einstein shared a special bond throughout the years. She acted as his close confidante and when she fled Europe in 1939 as a result of Nazi persecution against the Jews, she joined Einstein in Princeton, where he was teaching at the time. Maja and Einstein lived in close proximity to each other until her later years.

Five-year-old Albert Einstein | circa 1884 | Estimate: £4,000-£6,000 | Image: Christie’s

The intimate and unpublished notes and letters were written by Einstein himself and are estimated to sell at different prices ranging from a couple of hundred pounds to at least £150,000. The theoretical physicist reveals personal information such as why his first marriage ended in divorce, how and why he became estranged with his children, as well as the processes that he underwent when discovering his pioneering theories.

Einstein discusses his relationships with his wives Mileva Marić, who he married first, as well as his second marriage to his cousin Elsa Löwenthal, which was kept undercover at first by the two so as not to provoke unwanted attention while he was staying in the United States. 56 of the letters in the collection were addressed to his lifelong friend and collaborator Michele Besso. In some of the letters, Einstein complained about being paraded on a tour of the U.S just as farmers would show off a ‘prize bullock’. He also poked fun at some of the colleagues that he left in Berlin.

A letter from Einstein to his father is also included that has an estimate of £2,500 to £3,500, as well as a letter written to Maja by Einstein and Elsa detailing the Nazi confiscation of their property in Germany (estimated price range is between £1,200 and £1,800). The collection also features a precious photo of Einstein as a five years old child that is estimated to be worth anywhere between £4,000 and £6,000. The lot will be sold online with a few of the items being made available at Christie’s valuables Books and Manuscripts sale.

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