Auctions | May 24, 2018

Einstein Manuscript & Presidential Autographs Featured at RR Auction

fe513c0a0081e03592f34992b8d83ecf4959e4c7.jpegBoston—An important Albert Einstein handwritten manuscript will be auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction. 

The manuscript is Einstein's criticism of a paper in which the author, Erich Trefftz, claimed to have found a static solution of the equations of general relativity for two point masses; Einstein points out that such a conclusion is based on an error. Featuring several mathematical equations—including a modified form of his General Theory of Relativity.

The two-page manuscript in German, which is unsigned (but incorporating "Einstein" in the title), no date but circa late 1922. Headed (translated), "Comment on E. Trefftz's Paper: 'The Static Gravitational Field of Two Mass Points in Einstein's Theory,'" the paper was presented on November 23, 1922, to the Berlin-based Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences, who published the work on December 21, 1922. The present manuscript was probably a draft used for typesetting, as it contains several handwritten editor's annotations in pencil which were executed in the published version. This was Einstein's first paper published after he received the Nobel Prize on December 10, 1922.

Most significantly, this manuscript contains a handwritten version of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. In 1915, Einstein made his groundbreaking achievement with the introduction of the General Theory of Relativity. In 1917, Einstein applied his equations to the problem of explaining the structure of the cosmos on a large scale and found that he would need to modify his equations by adding another term, containing a constant, which he denoted ? and called 'cosmological.' This cosmological constant relied on a static universe; upon the later discovery that the universe was expanding, Einstein reportedly called this the greatest blunder of his career. 

It was advanced by Einstein in a 1919 paper as a candidate for a slightly modified field equation to account both for the structure of matter and for cosmological structure. With important scientific content—and an enormously significant date within the context of Einstein's career—this is a truly remarkable piece which stands as the most spectacular Einstein manuscript we have ever offered.

“With important content and significant date within the context of Einstein's career—this is a truly remarkable piece,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.  (Estimate: $175,000+)

Among other items to be featured is a magnificent collection of presidential autographs representing a complete set from George Washington through Franklin D. Roosevelt, uniformly affixed by their left edges to large off-white sheets custom-bound into a beautiful red leather volume with slipcase, gilt-stamped titles, and a calligraphically embellished title page, each page preceded by a large engraving depicting the president. (Estimate: $48,000+)

Also up for auction is handwritten letter by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of “The Little Prince.” The moving three-page love letter to his former fiancee, Louise Leveque de Vilmorin, circa 1929. (Estimate: $10,000+)

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began on May 18 and will conclude on June 13. More details can be found online at