Without a doubt, my favourite item that has been consigned to the latest PFC Auctions sale – which, by the way, is currently open for bidding – has to be the correspondence between the great Albert Einstein and socialist philosopher Corliss Lamont.
Regarded as a genius, Einstein was called upon for his advice on numerous subjects as he became more famous, many of which were far removed from his physics background. The turbulent times that followed the second world war meant that few could avoid holding an opinion on matters such as civil rights, communism and the threat of the cold war, and Einstein was at the forefront of the intellectual debate.
His connections with Germany and zionism, as well as his socialist ideals and relations with leading communist figures, also ensured that the distrustful FBI held a file on him, which would grow to over 1,427 pages. Like many intellectuals in America at the time, Einstein felt oppressed under the watchful eye of his adopted government.
These remarkable letters show attempting to maintain an amicable relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Lamont was the president of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, an organisation supported by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Orson Wells, Katharine Hepburn and Gene Kelly, to name but a few.
Over the course of the four letters, Einstein’s characteristically calm and eloquent manner is portrayed brilliantly, providing a fascinating insight into his character. He is clear and decisive in his writing, and demonstrates his strong awareness of the political climate at the time.
With a minimum bid of just £100 each, the letters are sure to be snapped up by hungry collectors, although if anyone is feeling generous I would very much like them as a birthday present! Another 1954 letter in which Einstein shares his views on God and religion was reportedly sold for $3m on eBay in October 2012, so act fast.