Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
[Albert EINSTEIN (1879-1955)].
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
[Albert EINSTEIN (1879-1955)].

Details
[Albert EINSTEIN (1879-1955)].

A brown leather ‘Cossack’ jacket by Levi, Strauss & Co. [c.1935].

Provenance: The jacket has descended in a direct line from Albert Einstein to the present owner.

Einstein is depicted wearing the jacket in numerous photographs in the mid- to late-1930s, including a famous image by Lotte Jacobi in 1938 and the cover image of Time magazine of April the same year. It appears conspicuously fresh in images of the scientist arriving for holidays in Bermuda on 25 June 1935, and it may have been acquired shortly before that date -- possibly to celebrate his formal application for permanent US residency earlier that month. Leopold Infeld, a colleague at Princeton in the years 1936-38, evidently remembered him wearing the jacket constantly at this time, and delivered a much quoted explanation for this eccentricity: ‘One of my colleagues in Princeton asked me: “If Einstein dislikes his fame and would like to increase his privacy, why does he … wear his hair long, a funny leather jacket, no socks, no suspenders, no ties?”. The answer is simple. The idea is to restrict his needs and, by this restriction, increase his freedom. We are slaves of millions of things … Einstein tried to reduce them to the absolute minimum. Long hair minimized the need for the barber. Socks can be done without. One leather jacket solves the coat problems for many years’ (Infeld. Quest: An Autobiography. 1965, p.293)
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

More from Valuable Books and Manuscripts

View All
View All