(photo credit: ACME / AFP)
An auction house in Los Angeles will be selling four letters from Albert Einstein to the highest bidder on Thursday.
The letters, written in German to his friend and colleague Michele Besso, are part of an auction of letters, comic strips and other memorabilia to be held by the Nate D. Sanders auction house at the end of the week.
One of the letters, written in October 1938, contains Einstein's condemnation of UK prime minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler.
"Hoping that Hitler might let off steam by attacking Russia, he sacrifices Eastern Europe. But we will come to see once more that shrewdness does not win in the long term," wrote Einstein to Besso. "His only fear, which spurred him on to his humiliating flights, was the worry that Hitler might lose ground. I do not have any hope left for the future of Europe."
That letter, which was written 10 days after Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement, will begin bidding at $25,000.
The auction includes three other letters written by Einstein, including one dated 1918, in which the physicist predicts himself winning the Nobel Prize - several years before he did. The letter discusses Einstein's divorce settlement with his first wife, Mileva Maric.
"I am sure that she will handle the money with care after my death; therefore, I do not want to burden her with controls," Einstein wrote. "The interest on a hypothetical Nobel Prize will not exceed Fr. 8,000," he noted, close to four years before he won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. That letter will start bidding at $42,500.
A third letters, from 1932, was written shorty before Einstein left Germany for the United States, and a fourth, from 1926, wishes Besso condolences on the loss of his nephew.
Other memorabilia in the auction includes a signed letter from author JD Salinger, starting at $8,000, and a signed letter from Charles Darwin from sometime after 1875, starting at $5,000.
The auction also includes a 1961 hand-drawn Peanuts comic strip from Charles Schulz, which will begin bidding at $11,000, and an entry pass for the Nuremberg Trial in 1946, issued to a French criminal attorney, which starts at $4,500.
Interestingly enough, as Confederate monuments are being taken down around the United States, the auction includes a piece of confederate history.
A note, dated January 5, 1865, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, gave amnesty to a Confederate soldier under the 1863 Proclamation of Amnesty. Bidding for the artifact begins at just $5,000.