String theory: Einstein’s violin sold at auction for $516,000

Posted on: March 14, 2018

“A violin that belonged to genius Albert Einstein, who later gifted it to a janitor’s son, has sold for a whopping £373,000,” or approximately $516,000, states an unsigned article in Sunday’s (3/11) Daily Mail (London). “The famed physicist played the stringed instrument since the age of six and rarely travelled without one later in life. It was said that playing the violin helped him think about his theories.” When Einstein fled Nazi Germany and emigrated to America in 1933, Oscar Steger, a cabinet maker and member of a symphony orchestra in Pennsylvania, made the violin for Einstein and inscribed the inside of it. “Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity, later gave the instrument to William Hibbs, who was the son of the janitor at Princeton University where Einstein was a resident scholar.… Tom Lamb, of Bonhams [auction house], said: ‘It appears Einstein knew janitor Sylas Hibbs’ son was learning to play the violin and he made the gesture of giving him his one.’… Einstein began playing the violin at the age of six but it wasn’t until the age of 13, when he discovered the Mozart violin sonatas, that music became a passion for him.”

Posted March 14, 2018