Einstein's 'God Letter' Expected to Fetch 7 Figures at Auction


Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson warned against considering this letter definitive of Einstein's beliefs, saying the theoretical physicist had written on the subject multiple times, and was not always consistent.

A 1954 letter written by Albert Einstein and known as the "God letter" because he discussed his thoughts about God and religion has fetched close to $2.9 million at an auction in NY.

Christie's auction house in NY said on Tuesday that the letter, including the buyer's premium, fetched U.S. $2.89 million under the hammer.

The one-and-a-half-page letter had been estimated by Christie's to fetch between $1 million and $1.5 million.

"The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses", Einstein wrote to Gutkind. "No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change anything about this", the letter says. "And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people", he wrote.

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"As far as my experience goes, they are in fact no better than other human groups, even if they are protected from the worst excesses by a lack of power. Otherwise I can not perceive anything "chosen" about them", the letter says.

Written on January 3, 1954, this private, remarkably candid letter was addressed to Eric Gutkind, whose book, "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt", had been published the year before.

Separately, Christie's also sold a rare signed first edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", which also set a record, for $162,500. It sold for $404,000 at auction.

Last month, Sotheby's offered up for auction a Bible inscribed by Einstein in 1932, but failed to sell.

Several of Einstein's letters have sold at auction in recent memory, ranging in size and scope.