SKY NEWS | Wednesday 25 October 2017
Writings left by the famous scientist “paints a portrait” of the great thinker’s mind, says Einstein archivist Roni Grosz.
By Ajay Nair, News Reporter
Albert Einstein’s theory of happiness – scribbled down as a tip to a hotel porter – has been sold for $1.56m (£1.19m) at an auction in Jerusalem.
The scientist’s handwritten note may not be as groundbreaking as his theory of relativity but it managed to provide an insight into the mind of one of the world’s greatest modern thinkers.
The message read: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
Einstein left the note, written in German, as he did not have money to give a cash tip while travelling in Tokyo, Japan, in 1922, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, according to Winner’s Auctions and Exhibitions.
The auction house’s chief executive, Gal Wiener, said Einstein told the porter that because of his fame, the note “will probably be worth more than a regular tip”.
Einstein died in 1955 and left his writings at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
And the auction proved that to be the case after bids started at $2,000 (£1,500), going past the $1m mark in a 25-minute bidding war.
Another note Einstein addressed to the porter, which read “where there’s a will there’s a way”, sold for $240,000 (£182,000).
The buyers and sellers of the notes have wished to remain anonymous.
But the seller of the happiness note said: “I am really happy that there are people out there who are still interested in science and history and timeless deliveries in a world which is developing so fast.”
The auction took place in Jerusalem
The auction comes after Einstein left his literary estate and personal papers in Israel after founding the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Roni Grosz, the archivist in charge of the world’s largest Einstein collection, said it was about gaining a deeper understanding of the scientist.
He said: “What we’re doing here is painting the portrait of Einstein – the man, the scientist, his effect on the world – through his writings.
“This is a stone in the mosaic.”
Einstein died in 1955 and also once declined an invitation to serve as Israel’s first president in the years before his death.