SHORT TAKES : Einstein-Freud Letters Sold

From Times Wire Services

Two handwritten letters between Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud discussing the nature of war sold for $165,000, and a Louis Armstrong trumpet drew $16,500 at the same auction.

The exchange of letters was initiated by a League of Nations official for a limited-edition book published in 1933.

The letters, which were sold Tuesday by Sotheby’s, were consigned by an educational institution and purchased by a private American buyer, said Matthew Weigman, a Sotheby’s spokesman.

Einstein’s four-page letter of July 28, 1932, asks, “Is there a way to liberate man from the doom of war?” The 14-page reply from Freud concludes, “There is no prospect of getting rid of this aggressive instinct.”


Another private American buyer bought the trumpet and a manuscript essay on the musician’s recollections on the development of jazz.

The B-flat trumpet sold for $16,500 and the handwritten essay for $27,500, Weigman said.