Story at a glance

  • Christie’s in Paris is auctioning a rare manuscript belonging to renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.
  • The 54-page manuscript contains the early calculations that eventually became Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
  • Twenty-six of the pages are written by Einstein's hand.

Christie’s in Paris is auctioning a rare manuscript belonging to renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein on Tuesday.

The 54-page manuscript contains the early calculations that eventually became Einstein’s general theory of relativity. 

The “remarkable,” handwritten manuscript, which the auction house called "one of the single most important ideas in modern science," is expected to sell for about $3.5 million.

Swiss-Italian engineer Michele Besso, who worked on the manuscript with Einstein, preserved it prior to the auction.


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Twenty-six of the pages are written by Einstein's hand, 25 are written by Besso and three contain writings from both.

"The manuscript isn’t bound, and there are many different types of loose paper, so you get the impression of a working document that’s full of energy, as if both men would grab the first page they could find to scribble their findings on," Vincent Belloy, a specialist in books and manuscripts at Christie’s Paris, told NBC News in a statement.

Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for 1921 and died in 1955 at the age of 76.

Bidding is to begin Nov. 23 at 6:30 p.m. CET.


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Published on Nov 23, 2021