Albert Einstein's handwritten note on his theory for happy living fetched $1.56 million at an auction house in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Nobel Prize Winner
Winner's Auctions and Exhibitions said that the scientist was traveling from Europe to Japan in 1922 to deliver a series of lectures when he learned he would be awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Although Einstein was absent at the ceremony in Stockholm, news of his arrival in Japan quickly spread. He was welcome by thousands of people who were eager to see him.
Impressed and a little embarrassed by the publicity he received, the scientist tried to write his thoughts and feelings on a paper while holed up at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
Handwritten Notes For The Tip
Einstein was strapped with cash at the time. He did not have a tip available for a bellboy who came to his room, so he decided to make the most of his popularity. Einstein gave the messenger two of his writings in German.
"A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it," reads one of the notes written on stationery of the Imperial Hotel.
Nearly 100 years later, the bellboy's nephew contacted the auction house in Israel to put the notes up for sale.
Exceeded Pre-auction Estimates
Einstein's note about his theory of happiness exceeded the pre-auction estimate of between $5,000 and $8,000. Bidding in person, by phone, and online started at $2,000. The flurry of offers quickly drove the price up until two potential buyers bid against each other by phone.
The note eventually fetched $1.56 million. It was bought by a European who wished to remain anonymous.
"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 seller said.
The second note that Einstein wrote and simply reads "where there's a will, there's a way" fetched $240,000.
Einstein And The Theory Of General Relativity
Einstein notably instructed the bellboy in 1922 to keep the notes because their future value could surpass that of a standard tip. Einstein was proven right.
Einstein proposed the theory of general relativity 100 years ago. A century later, many of his hypotheses and predictions have been found correct. Earlier this year, astronomers found evidence suggesting that the theoretical physicist was right about the idea that black holes have an event horizon.