Nov. 23 (UPI) — A rare manuscript by Albert Einstein featuring calculations that led to his theory of relativity sold for more than $13 million at an auction in Paris on Tuesday.
The 54-page document, one of two existing copies, was originally expected to sell for as much as $3.5 million, with the $13 million price tag making it the most expensive of Einstein’s manuscripts ever sold at auction.
“This is without a doubt the most valuable Einstein manuscript ever to come to auction,” Christie’s said in a statement ahead of the auction.
The manuscript was sold over the phone in a judicial sale handled by a special judicial commissioner to an anonymous buyer.
Swiss-Italian engineer Michele Besso, who worked on the calculations with Einstein, preserved the manuscript.
Although the copy isn’t the final draft of the theory of relativity, it shows the process that went into the calculations and includes a note from Einstein in the margins in which he wrote, “It works!”
Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, former president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told NBC News the manuscript was crucial to Einstein’s “intellectual and scientific journey towards the general theory of relativity.”
“He developed this theory, he almost reached the correct formulation, he misinterpreted it, he put it aside,” he said.
Although Einstein was known for destroying most of his work, but Besso kept the manuscript in “impeccable” condition until his death in 1995.
“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,” said Vincent Belloy, a specialist in books and manuscripts at Christie’s Paris.