University Archives

Lot 106

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Albert Einstein's Childhood Game Treasured by Him With Possible Early Pencil Scribblings by The Genius!

A wooden box that houses a pegboard toy belonging to a young Albert Einstein. The box measures 10.5" x 7.5" x 1.5", Berlin, circa 1870s. The toy, titled "Perlen-Mosaik-Spiel" [Mosaic Pearl Game], has approximately 520 colored wooden pearl beads, which could be used to decorate a metal punch-hole frame, making shapes and letters. The wooden box has copper hardware at each corner and a pictorial label affixed to the top. Manufacturers label on verso: “G. Söhlke Nachf. Berlin.” Juvenile pencil scribbling on the inside of the box, likely done by a young Albert. Some surface wear, with age-toning, creasing, and minor chipping to title label. Some general wear to the box, with rubbing and wear at the corners and edges. Minor chipping to the wood in places. As mentioned, pencil scribblings to the inside of the box. Small amounts of rusting to the metal hardware. Einstein, of course, did not make the fanciful designs we illustrate, but who knows what he did construct as a child?

Accompanying the charming toy is a letter of provenance from Aude Einstein-Ascher, dated April 24, 2019. Aude had been married to Bernhard C. Einstein, Albert Einstein's grandson, and states that the toy had been kept in Einstein's home throughout his life, and upon his death, it was inherited by her husband. Signed at the conclusion, "Aude Einstein-Ascher." The toy was also on display in Tokyo's Mitsuo Aida Museum's "Einstein in Japan: A Travelogue" exhibit from 2005-2006. A similar, children's building block game owned by Einstein sold in 2016 at Christie's for nearly $110,000. This Game was consigned to us by the same family.

Albert Einstein exhibited his genius from a very young age, famously seeking out puzzles and high cognitive games as a small child. Recollections from his sister Maja indicate that young Albert would spend hours engaged in toys and games that involved structural construction and complicated puzzles. Modern psychologists now identify games like the "Perlen-Mosaik" as key development tools, integral to teaching and reinforcing cognitive thinking skills in small children. Not only that, but such games can also aid in the development of mathematical and creative skills. One can easily imagine the impact such a game had on the already advanced brain of the young Einstein. Einstein kept his beloved childhood game throughout the entirety of his life, only gifting it away to his grandson at the time of his passing. A remarkable and important personal memento from one of our greatest minds.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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April 14, 2021 10:30 AM EDT

Wilton, CT, US

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000