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5th Jun 2023
Relativity The Special and General Theory one of three Einstein books being auctioned by Keys

Three first editions by Albert Einstein containing his first thoughts about the theory of relativity are to go under the hammer in Norfolk next week.

The three books are part of a wide-ranging Book Sale at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham, which will also see the auction of the first edition of the hugely important ‘Electric Waves’ by Heinrich Hertz.

First published in English in 1920, ‘Relativity – The Special and The General Theory’ began as a short paper in which Einstein sought to explain his theory of relativity, but soon became a whole book.  It was first published in German in 1916, with the first English edition – the one being auctioned at Keys – published in 1920.

Alongside this important book in the same lot are two further volumes; ‘the Meaning of Relativity’, a series of lectures given in 1921 and published in English in 1922; and ‘Spotlights on Relativity’, the transcription of a 1920 lecture which was also first published in English in 1922.

The three volumes will go under the hammer in Keys’ two day Books and Ephemera Sale on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th June, at the firm’s Aylsham salerooms, and online, with a pre-sale estimate of £600-£800.

In the same sale, the first edition of ‘Electric Waves’ by Heinrich Hertz, first published in English in 1893, is expected to fetch between £400 and £500.  This book outlines the research which on electromagnetic waves, which were the foundation of wireless communication.  Wavelengths are still measured in units named after the German scientist.

“Hertz and Einstein were two of the most important scientists in history, and these books are their first expressions of the theories which underlie so much of today’s science and technology,” said Andrew Lindsay-Bullock, head of books at Keys.

“As such, they are hugely important scientific volumes, and we expect there to be a lot of interest from the scientific community when they go under the hammer next week.”

Keys two day Books and Ephemera Sale takes place on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th June at Keys’ Aylsham salerooms.  Full details are available at www.keysauctions.co.uk.