Perhaps the most famous mathematical equation of modern time is Albert Einstein’s “E=mc2.  Although most of us have seen it, many folks have no idea of what it actually means.  Well relax, we won’t discuss quantum physics here.

I will however share information about the many letters sent by the “Energy Committee of Atomic Scientists” that contain the facsimile signature of Einstein.  Albert Einstein and a team of incredibly talented scientists and physicists created the theories, the equations, and the technology that became the atomic bomb.  The controversy in the news today about the use of that weapon is not new.  At the conclusion of World War II, and even earlier many experts shared great concern about the power of nuclear energy harnessed into a bomb.

Many post war letters were mailed by the “Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists” to raise money to educate the public about atomic energy.  The call was to raise $1,000,000.00.  The letter begins; “…Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man’s discovery of fire.  This basic power of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalism…”

This letter dated January 22, 1947 concludes by requesting a donation to the cause. Each letter carries the signature of Albert Einstein.  The signature was printed, not authentically signed.  An identical signature appears on the follow-up letter (my example is dated “May 20, 1947”) which thanks the supporter for a contribution and requests continued support.

The easiest way to identify this signature is the “t” dotting of the first “i” in Einstein.  The signature is printed in blue ink and has the characteristics of uniform ink intensity.

An authentic signature is illustrated on the left.  It is from one of Einstein’s bank checks.  This example comes with an interesting story that provides us with insight on Einstein’s thought process.  A telephone operator at the Center For Advanced Studies in Princeton, where Einstein worked, obtained this check.  One morning she asked Einstein for his signature.  “Dr. Einstein, could I have your autograph for my grandson?” she queried.  His response surprised her.  “I’ll bring it tomorrow!” as he hurried past her.

Bring it?  Why not just scribble it on a slip of paper?  The next day he left this check for her.  This superb example is written to the National Academy of Sciences.  That makes it quite a nice association piece.  Where is it now?  The collector that owns it told me it has entered the “black hole” of the autograph-collecting world (that means he’s keeping it forever).  Quite appropriate for Einstein’s signature don’t you think?

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