A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which the revered physicist doubts the existence of God was auctioned on Tuesday for $2.89 million.
The amount was a record for an Einstein letter and far surpassed its estimated value of $1.0-1.5 million, Christie’s said.
A 1939 letter in which Einstein warned then President Franklin D. Roosevelt about Germany’s atom bomb preparations was auctioned for $2.1 million in 2002.
In the letter sold on Tuesday, dated 1954 and written in German to philosopher Eric Gutkind, Einstein questioned the existence of God and dismissed the bible as ‘legends’.
It is seen as a key statement in the debate between science and religion.
“The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses,” he writes. “The Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends.”
It continues: “No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can [for me] change anything about this.”
The letter was last sold in 2008 to a private collector for $404,000, Christie’s said.
In 2017, a note in which Einstein gave advice on happy living sold for $1.56m in Jerusalem.
A single sentence, it reads: “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”