You really can put a price on happiness, or at least Albert Einstein's pithy theory on the matter: The theory, scribbled on a piece of paper and handed to a messenger, sold at auction for $1.56 million, AFP reports. The record-setting bid at Tuesday's sale in Jerusalem far surpassed estimates of $5,000 to $8,000, per Winner's auction house. Einstein scrawled the note on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery in 1922 while on a tour of Japan after being informed he'd won the Nobel Prize for physics. It reads in German: "A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it," per the BBC. The physicist better known for another theory gave the note to a courier who made a delivery to his room.
Einstein didn't want the man to leave empty-handed, so instead of a tip he handed him two notes, the anonymous seller tells AFP. The second missive, which sold for $240,000, was less original. "Where there’s a will, there’s a way," it reads. "Maybe if you’re lucky those notes will become much more valuable than just a regular tip," Einstein told the man, says the seller, a relative of the courier who lives in Hamburg, Germany. The auction house says the buyer was a European who wants to remain anonymous, per the BBC. Two other letters Einstein wrote later were also auctioned, fetching prices of $33,600 and $9,600, per AFP. Other Einstein letters about God, Israel, and physics sold for almost $210,000 in June. (These US cities are the happiest.)