While Albert Einstein's theory of happiness may be relative, it fetched $1.3 million at a Jerusalem auction on Tuesday.
The German-born scientist also wrote a second note, which read, "Where there's a will, there's a way".
Winner's Auctions and Exhibitions said Einstein was traveling in Japan in 1922 when he was told he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.
When an messenger came to his room to make a delivery, Einstein found himself without any money for a tip. The courier either refused to accept a tip, in line with local practice, or Einstein had no small change available.
The note, on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery, says in German that "a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest".
According to the auction house, Einstein advised the messenger to keep the note, saying that some day its value would be worth more than amount of a standard tip.
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The notes, which were previously unknown to researchers, were being sold by an anonymous Hamburg resident.
The letter contained a single sentence written in German.
A message containing Einstein's theory of happiness sold at an auction for more than $1 million..
It is impossible to determine if the notes were a reflection of Einstein's own musings on his growing fame, said Roni Grosz, the archivist in charge of the world's largest Einstein collection, at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.
Around 100 years later, his prediction was proved correct - as the note made the bellboy's nephew a millionaire when he contacted an auction house to put it up for sale. Einstein died in 1955.