Albert Einstein's Peace Formula Heads To Auction

Known as the 'Theory of World Peace', a historically important manuscript by Albert Einstein is currently for sale at auction. The rare three-page document provides insight into Einstein's thoughts on how to achieve world peace.

Albert Einstein standing beside a blackboard with chalk-marked mathematical calculations written across it. Photo © Hulton Archive/Getty Images (detail)
Albert Einstein standing beside a blackboard with chalk-marked mathematical calculations written across it. Photo © Hulton Archive/Getty Images (detail)

While Goldin is mainly known for dealing in expensive sports cards and memorabilia, they are presently hosting a non-sports auction that features over 1,000 lots. The highlights of the auction are a rare first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone from 1997, a sealed 1985 Nintendo Super Mario Bros. graded 9.4, a 1988 Pokemon Holofoil Illustrator Pikachu graded 9, and an extraordinary formula for achieving world peace.

The manuscript was entirely written by Albert Einstein in the midst of the Second World War, specifically in 1940. At the time, Einstein was in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, a process which was finalised on 1 October 1940. Some weeks before, on 22 June, Einstein attended an interview with Assistant Secretary of Labor Marshall Dimock for NBC's I'm an American radio broadcast. Given the subject matter, there is speculation that the manuscript served as a key resource in his preparations for that interview.

Einstein takes the oath of U.S. citizenship with his daughter and his secretary in 1940. Photo © American Stock/Getty Images
Einstein takes the oath of U.S. citizenship with his daughter and his secretary in 1940. Photo © American Stock/Getty Images

The first page of the manuscript is particularly intriguing as it is divided into two distinct parts. The first segment features handwritten mathematical formulas attributed to Einstein. According to professors at the Einstein Papers Project at CalTech, these formulas are Einstein's contributions and research in the realm of electromagnetic fields.

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The second part, on the other hand, contains Einstein's reflections on how to achieve world peace. Notably, every word on these three pages, including all the corrections, is in Einstein's own handwriting. A truly remarkable aspect of this manuscript is that it combines Einstein's two passions in life: physics and social issues.

Page 1 of Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace. Photo © Goldin
Page 1 of Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace. Photo © Goldin

One of Einstein's more significant statements is when he writes, "Is it possible to strive for an international order based on justice while on the other side of the Atlantic, brute force is crushing one democratic country after another?" This is a clear reference to the ongoing war led by the country of Einstein's birth, namely Germany.

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Another remarkable statement is Einstein's critique of the League of Nations and his proposition that "A world state can only ensure peace if its constituent states hand over all their military resources to it." Many of Einstein's ideas closely align with what later became the foundation of the United Nations. Although the U.N. was established after the war ended in 1945, Einstein was ahead of his time with his groundbreaking ideas.

Einstein ends the manuscript with the words, "May our America, through the resolute action of its citizens and its statesmen, be spared such an hour!". This statement is a subtle reference to his own journey toward U.S. citizenship, hence the use of "our" America.

Close-up of the presentation box to Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace. Photo © Goldin
Close-up of the presentation box to Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace. Photo © Goldin

As a bonus to the original documents, the manuscript is accompanied by an impressive presentation box titled 'Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace', containing copies of all three pages. According to Goldin, it is possible to display the originals in the presentation box. However, many presentation installations often include copies, while the originals are stored in bank vaults or other secure locations.

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The presentation box to Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace. Photo © Goldin
The presentation box to Albert Einstein's Theory of World Peace. Photo © Goldin

In 2021, two exceptional Einstein manuscripts were sold at auction. One, which included the famous 'E=mc2' formula, sold for $1.2 million, and the other, which was a lengthy handwritten 'Theory of Relativity' formula, fetched an impressive sum of $13 million.

The auction for the remarkable 'Theory of World Peace' is scheduled for 19 November, and Goldin is currently accepting bids.

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