In 1954, Albert Einstein wrote a letter describing his thoughts about religion and God, hence it was known as the “God letter” – and decades later, the letter fetched $2.9 million when auctioned in New York yesterday.

A one-and-half page long handwritten so-called “God letter” which is about seven decades old was sold for $2.9 million on Thursday – all because of historic significance, rarity and the fact that it was written by Albert Einstein. Auctioned along with many other items including a 1928 note that went for $103,000, the God letter actually fetched almost double the auction house’s predicted price of up to 1.5 million. Here’s what makes the piece of paper that is considered to be extremely controversial and yet worth millions, literally.

Writing to German philosopher Eric Gutkind in response to one of his books about Jewish spirituality and the pursuit of science, Nobel Prize winner scientist Albert Einstein penned down a one-and-a-half page note in 1954 when he was 74 years old. The so-called handwritten “God letter” consisted of Einstein’s thoughts and views about religion, faith and God, and its difference with science. The remarkably private and candid letter is considered remarkable, not just because it consisted Einstein’s personal views on religion, but also that it was written just a before Einstein died.

In the God letter, Einstein talks about the problems with the belief in God as he wrote, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends”. He also mused about his Jewish community that the Jews believes, “like all other religions, Jews are an incarnation of primitive superstition”. And through his lifetime, he was continuously questioned about his religious beliefs, to which, he commented that despite being profoundly anchored among Jewish people, they still “don’t have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples”.