Albert Einstein's "God Letter" was sold for $3,000,100 to an anonymous online bidder.
According to eBay, there were only two bids on the historic document, but the competition was enough to bump the sale to just above the asking price of $3 million, i09 notes.
However, when the auction was announced earlier this month, Eric Gazin, president of the Los Angeles-based auction house that handled the sale, speculated the item might triple its opening bid threshold, Fox News reports.
The auction closed Oct. 18.
The handwritten letter, sent to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind shortly before Einstein's death, references several philosophical and theological themes including religion and tribalism. The letter also expresses Einstein's belief that God does not exist.
Here is a partial translation of Einstein's letter (via Auction Cause):
The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.
The letter was auctioned with its envelope, stamp and postmark.
Its anonymous seller turned quite a profit on the sale: The item was purchased from Bloomsbury Auctions in London in 2008 for $404,000, according to Reuters. That auction, which revived interest in the letter, “poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion,” according to The New York Times. Among the bidders who reportedly lost out in 2008 was the well-known atheist and scientist Richard Dawkins.