Note With Einstein’s Theory on Life Auctioned for $1.3M

People attend the auction of a note written on a Tokyo hotel official paper in 1922 by Albert Einstein, in Yerushalayim, Tuesday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Strapped for cash in a Tokyo hotel, Albert Einstein wrote his take on life on a note and handed it to the bellboy instead of a tip. The physicist’s formula for happy living fetched $1.3 million on Tuesday, a Yerushalayim auction house said.

In 1922, Einstein was en route to Japan when the announcement came that he would be awarded the 1921 Nobel prize in physics, Winner’s Auctions and Exhibitions said.

Upon his arrival in Tokyo, he holed up in his hotel room trying to put his thoughts to paper.

When an attendant came to his room to make a delivery, Einstein found himself without any money for a tip.


A note written on a Tokyo hotel official paper in 1922 by Albert Einstein is seen before it is sold at the auction. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Instead, he handed him a signed note with one sentence, written in German: “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”

According to the auction house, Einstein advised the bellboy to keep the note, saying that some day its value will surpass the amount of a standard tip.

Almost 100 years later, Einstein was proven right after the bellboy’s nephew contacted the auction house to put the note up for sale. The identity of the online buyer has not been revealed.



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