Either way, Einstein didn't want the messenger to leave empty-handed, so he wrote him two notes by hand in German, according to the seller, a relative of the messenger.
Einstein gave the note to a courier in Tokyo in 1922 instead of a tip.
It said the buyer of one of the notes was a European who wished to remain anonymous.
It was penned on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery and says in German, "A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest".
The Nobel-winning scientist's musings, on a handwritten note, may not be as famous as his groundbreaking theory of relativity, but they still shed light on one of the great modern minds.
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While he was impressed, he also felt embarrassed by the publicity and wrote down his thoughts from his hotel room at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
It just sold for $1.56 million.
"It was an all-time record for an auction of a document in Israel", Winner's spokesman Meni Chadad told AFP.
Almost 100 years later, the bellboy's nephew contacted the auction house in Israel to put the notes up for sale.
And the auction proved that to be the case after bids started at $2,000 (£1,500), going past the $1m mark in a 25-minute bidding war.
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The other note read, "Where there's a will, there's a way".
It was expected to sell for between $5,000 and $8,000, according to the Winner's Auctions and Exhibitions website.
The seller is reported to be the nephew of the messenger.
Einstein was a founder of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and left it his literary estate and personal papers.
Einstein was still traveling during the Nobel award ceremony in December 1922, so he was absent when the chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics said that "there is probably no physicist living today whose name has become so widely known as that of Albert Einstein".
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