Albert Einstein’s childhood toy goes on sale in New York
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Albert Einstein’s childhood toy goes on sale in New York

Colored wooden balls used to create designs on a punch-hole frame may have helped spark famed physicist’s genius, auctioneers suggest

A childhood toy of physicist Albert Einstein containing small colored wooden balls used to create designs on the punch-hole frame. The box reads, 'Perlen-Mosaik-Spiel,' or 'pearl mosaic game.' The toy is up for sale by New York auctioneers Kestenbaum & Company, June 2019. (Kestenbaum & Company website)
A childhood toy of physicist Albert Einstein containing small colored wooden balls used to create designs on the punch-hole frame. The box reads, 'Perlen-Mosaik-Spiel,' or 'pearl mosaic game.' The toy is up for sale by New York auctioneers Kestenbaum & Company, June 2019. (Kestenbaum & Company website)

A New York auction house is selling items from Albert Einstein’s domestic life, including a childhood toy and a portrait of the famed physicist.

The game is described by the auction house, New York’s Kestenbaum & Company, as “a wooden box with decorative sliding cover” and “punch-hole frame” containing some 520 “colored wooden pearls.”

A child is expected to use the small wooden balls to create drawings in the pitted frame.

Its box reads, “Perlen-Mosaik-Spiel,” or “pearl mosaic game.”`

Despite “juvenile pencil scribbling on inside of box” and “some surface wear,” the physicist’s childhood keepsake is expected to sell for between $4,000 and $6,000.

Undated file photo shows famed physicist Albert Einstein (AP Photo, File)

The auctioneers suggest the toy may have contributed to Einstein’s radical revolutionizing of physics during his 20s.

“This creative childhood toy served to expand the imagination of a young Albert Einstein, in turn leading to a maturation of mind, that in adulthood, brought to Mankind the most significant scientific theorems of the past millennia,” the lot description reads.

The game was given as a gift by Einstein to the consignor before the physicist’s death, and has been kept by the owner ever since.

The auction also includes a portrait of Einstein, liquor cups from China and linen napkins embroidered by his mother.

Portrait of famed physicist Albert Einstein, made in 1922 by French expressionist painter Lou Albert-Lasard. (Kestenbaum & Company website)

The 1922 lithograph portrait is by French expressionist painter Lou Albert-Lasard, a period when she lived in Switzerland. It was the year Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. Einstein kept the portrait in his possession until his death in 1955.

The liquor cups were made by Shanghai silversmith “Zeewo,” the auction house said, and are engraved with bamboo shoots and the monogram “A/E/E,” for Albert and Elsa Einstein, his second wife.

The auction also includes five linen napkins embroidered by Pauline Einstein, Albert’s mother, with images of putti, or artistic depictions of chubby male child figurines, alongside either animals or musical instruments.

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