Apart from single-mindedly working out how the universe works, it seems that Albert Einstein wasn’t averse to banging out a Mozart sonata on the fiddle whenever inspiration eluded him. Recently, some 63 years after the eccentric genius died, the very violin with which he wooed his Mrs – she was well partial to a bit of Wolfgang Amadeus apparently – came up for auction at Bonhams in New York. It eventually sold for US$516,500, five times more than the original estimate.
Given the staggering sum it went for, it’s perhaps not surprising that the violin – which Albert himself referred to as “Lina” – has outdone his telescope (previously sold for US$432,500) and his pocket watch (US$352,054) to become the most valuable item of Einstein memorabilia ever sold (other than his scientific documents).
The violin was made by Oscar Steger, a cabinetmaker and a member of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and gifted to Einstein in 1933. It bears the inscription “the Worlds [sic] Greatest Scientist Profesior [sic]” and was said to travel everywhere that Albert went.