Einstein letter lauding Swiss system set for sale

February 20, 2012

A letter written by celebrated physicist Albert Einstein extolling the virtues of Switzerland is expected to fetch thousands of francs (euros, dollars) when it goes under the hammer there in June.

The 1917 letter was sent to German Jewish industrialist and Walther Rathenau who went on to serve as foreign affairs minister before being assassinated in 1922.

In the note, German-born Einstein, who became a Swiss national in 1901, hailed the benefits of small states and cited Switzerland as an example.

The future said that the size of the country's cantons necessitated a federal structure to assume essential state functions however.

He held up the German district of Brandenburg as the ideal administrative size.

The letter is from a private collection and will be auctioned by the Fischer Gallery in Lucerne where it is expected to attract bids of between 25,000 and 35,000 Swiss francs (20,800 to 29,100 euros, $27,500-38,450).

In 2009, the gallery sold Einstein's doctorate certificate from Zurich University for 300,960 francs.

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