NEW YORK, DEC. 2 -- The earliest surviving version of Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" was sold at auction at Sotheby's today for $1,155,000 -- the highest price ever paid for a manuscript in the United States.

The 72-page handwritten manuscript was written in 1912 and lists his famous E=MC

equation with an extra algebraic constant that was crossed out.

A Sotheby's spokeswoman said the manuscript, given by Einstein to friends, was bought by a private dealer for an anonymous client. It had been expected to fetch about $700,000. The name of the seller was withheld by Sotheby's.

Einstein published his most famous theory in 1915.

In it, he postulated a constant velocity for light (C) and its consequence, the equivalence of mass (M) and energy (E).

In the version sold at Sotheby's, the equation E=MC

is listed as EL=MC

with the "L," an extra algebraic constant, crossed out.

The early version was written for a series of scientific articles being published by a German professor, but the series was never printed because of World War I.

The version survived because Einstein had given it to friends as a gift. Usually he discarded his manuscripts once they were published.

The world record price for a manuscript was the $11.8 million paid in 1983 for the "Gospels of Henry the Lion," which was sold in London.