Extraordinary handwritten mathematical expressions and notes in Einstein’s hand on both sides of an off-white 8.5 x 11 sheet of New York’s Hotel Commodore letterhead, no date, but likely 1921. On the front of the sheet, side, he pens ten lines of notes in German regarding the purchase of a boat, listing five Berlin residents advertising boats for sale along with their prices, in full (translated): “Mrs. Lippert—German Workshop for Leather industry—Noll 1436. How much does the boat cost? Length, surface of the sail, how many sails? How many persons? Kurfürst 8143 Price? Amount of sails and surfaces. Name? Weight-bearing capacity? Kreutner, Hannoversche Strasse 2, Berlin N.W.O. Price 16500. Letter regarding inspection / Karl Weber, Price 15000, Grünstrasse 16, Berlin—letter regarding inspection / J. Padschadel, Jasmundstrasse 8—letter regarding inspection, price 15000, 22 square meters surface of sail.” On the reverse of the sheet, Einstein pens a series of seven mathematical expressions. Intersecting folds, light scattered creases, and slight foxing, otherwise fine condition; the mathematical side of the sheet also bears an ink notation in an unknown hand.
In 1921, Einstein received a celebrity’s welcome when he arrived in New York for his first visit to the United States. Staying at the Hotel Commodore, he gave three weeks of lectures and attended countless receptions in his honor before moving on in his travels. Passionate about sailing since his university days, embracing the solitude and simplicity of being at sea, the jet-setting physicist now had his sights set on buying a boat of his own upon his return to Germany; making a list of sellers in Berlin, he questions prices, sail sizes and numbers, weight-bearing capacities, etc. Eight years later, in honor of his 50th birthday, he was given a custom-made ship, which he held as one of his most prized possessions: when asked in 1933 if he would renounce other loyalties to be an American citizen (which he had just become), he cheerfully replied that he ‘would even renounce [his] cherished sailboat’ if necessary. With the wonderful sailing association on one side and always-sought-after equations on the other, this is a highly desirable piece from the legendary physicist. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.