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The remarkable sale catalogue was a collaboration between Plotnick, Jeremy Norman, who helped in putting the sale items into a historical context as well as providing a 14pp, illustrated timeline on the development of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity, and, of course the New York book department itself. The latter also acknowledged the additional assistance of Dr Michael Janssen, Assistant Professor for the History of Science at the University of Minnesota and editor of the Einstein Papers Project, in researching the descriptions of the Einstein manuscripts, and in particular for writing the long description of the Einstein-Besso manuscript that accounted for a large part of the sale total, at $500,000 (£320,000).

So far beyond my ken is this field that I may have to engage the assistance of someone much better qualified to write a sale report for a future issue.

In the meantime, I offer a brief account of the half-million dollar lot. This comprised a 54pp set of research notes of c.1913-14 by Einstein and his closest friend and confidant Michele Besso constituting a search for the proof of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity in a series of calculations using the early version (“Entwurf”) of the field equations of the general theory – the aim of which was to test whether the theory could account for the well-known anomaly in the motion of the perihelion of Mercury. The only other extant manuscript with research notes relating to Einstein’s work toward the general theory is already in the Einstein Archives at Hebrew University. Buyer’s premium: 19.5/10 per cent.