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eight bits

Einstein "God Letter" marked down 50-67%

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eight bits

Christie's auction house announced today that it will be selling the "God Letter" that Einstein wrote to Eric Gutkind. The letter was last seen selling on E-Bay with a $3 million minimum bid. That was back in 2012. It is generally believed in antiques circles that the sale wasn't consummated. Christie's estimate for its December 4th sale is $1 million to $1.5 million.

If you're in Shanghai or New York, you'll be able to view the letter live. It will be on display prior to the sale

This is a breaking story as I post it, and so news stories about the sale accumulate by the hour. Initial sampling reveals that the English translation being publicized this time around will be much closer to Einstein's actual German composition, as opposed to the more creative writing passed off as a translation by the Guardian newspaper and others last time around.

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danydandan

Are you going to bid on it?

I'm gonna bid on it. Only 10euro though hope I get it.

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eight bits

@danydandan

Probably won't bid on it :) . I might swing down to New York to take a look, though. We'll see.

A friend of mine spoke to the guy at Christie's running the sale, Peter Klarnet, earlier today. How's that for name dropping? Christie's seems confident that it will get the $1.5 million (about 1.3 million euro), and of course, if they happened to get more, then they'd be pleased about that, too.

After all, in 2008, the letter sold for more than 40 times the estimate (at another auction house). I'm sure Christie's would be thrilled with a mere 4 times the estimate on this go round.

 

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Habitat

I was wondering what reply Einstein might have got to his letter to God, but silly me to think of such a thing. I guess this letter would be worth a lot more written in English, for a US buyer, as it would not have the translation issue. I will have to take a look at the translation. Here in Australia we have the celebrated Jerilderie Letter, a kind of apologia written by a notorious outlaw bushranger, Ned Kelly, whose position in the folklore of the nation is unique, in that some simultaneously regard him as a hero ( "as game as Ned Kelly"), but if they get ripped off by a car mechanic, he would be "worse than Ned Kelly".

Edited by Habitat

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joc
2 hours ago, Habitat said:

I was wondering what reply Einstein might have got to his letter to God, but silly me to think of such a thing. I guess this letter would be worth a lot more written in English, for a US buyer, as it would not have the translation issue. I will have to take a look at the translation. Here in Australia we have the celebrated Jerilderie Letter, a kind of apologia written by a notorious outlaw bushranger, Ned Kelly, whose position in the folklore of the nation is unique, in that some simultaneously regard him as a hero ( "as game as Ned Kelly"), but if they get ripped off by a car mechanic, he would be "worse than Ned Kelly".

It wasn't actually a letter 'to' God, it was letter to a religious philosopher, Erik Gutkind after reading "a great deal" of Gutkind's book "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt" (Schuman, 1952).

LInk

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Habitat

Joc, I actually became aware of that, from reading about it, it was a joke, joc !

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eight bits
On 10/4/2018 at 5:25 AM, Habitat said:

I guess this letter would be worth a lot more written in English, for a US buyer, as it would not have the translation issue.

So far as I know, there is no substantial controversy about the translation. The nub of the Guardian controversy was most urgently at the transcription level: the addition of material that Einstein didn't write (that Biblical stories are "childish") and the omission of a critical qualifying word that he did write (so that a colorful comment about Gutkind's version of Judaism becomes a comment about all Judaism, and by a cascade failure, a parenthetical follow-on remark about the more fundamentalist forms of all religions becomes a remark about all religions, full stop). No wonder Richard Dawkins had a ... umm, physical response ... when he read the Guardian's new improved version.

This time out, Christie's is using only trusted published transcriptions.

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/einsteins-god-letter-up-for-auction-again/

If you've got a fair transcription (it is a handwritten first draft document, so there's some puzzling out that needs doing), then the translation is fairly straightforward. The Uncertaintist's (download it from its "Unlinks" page, use the tab above the banner on every page) was done using Google translate (with a peek at a historian's afterwards :)  but there's not a lot of difference once there's agreement about what's on the page in the first place).

 

Edited by eight bits
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third_eye

As good Ol' Albert will gladly tell anyone, it is all relative

~

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joc
On 10/4/2018 at 7:19 AM, Habitat said:

Joc, I actually became aware of that, from reading about it, it was a joke, joc !

 

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eight bits

Although the Shanghai exhibition dates have passed, Christie's will be displaying the Einstein-Gutkind letter in San Francisco late this month, as well as the New York City displays for the few days leading up to the sale on December 4th.

Here's the current press release

https://www.christies.com/about-us/press-archive/details?PressReleaseID=9143&lid=1

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eight bits

Christie's auction was held this afternoon in New York.

Sale total including buyer’s premium: USD 2,892,500

So, the letter was hardly marked down at all as it turned out  :)

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Still Waters

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which he grapples with the concept of religion has smashed predictions and sold for nearly $2.9m (£2.3m).

The so-called "God letter" was written in 1954 and was expected to fetch $1.5m (£1.2m) at auction in New York.

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist, then 74, wrote the one-and-a-half page note to German philosopher Eric Gutkind in response to one of his works.

It is seen as a key statement in the debate between science and religion.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46438116

Edited by Still Waters
*Merged*
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