Thursday, May 30, 2024

Watch Belonging to Titanic’s Richest Passenger Sells for Record-Breaking $1.471 M.

A gold pocket watch recovered from the body of John Jacob Astor, the richest man on the Titanic, sold on Saturday at auction for a record–breaking £1.175 million ($1.471 million). It is the highest amount ever paid for Titanic memorabilia.

The watch was sold by Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, England, to a private collector in the United States.

Astor, a renowned businessman who made his fortune in the fur trade, was 47 years old when the Titanic sank in 1912. According to accounts from survivors, Astor didn’t believe the ship was in any kind of immediate danger: After he helped his new wife Madeleine board lifeboat four, Astor was last seen smoking a cigarette and talking with another passenger. His body was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean seven days later on April 22, with his 14-carat gold Waltham pocket watch engraved with his initials. His wife survived.

At the time, Astor was not only the richest passenger on the Titanic but was also one of the richest in the world, with a net worth of approximately $87 million or several billion dollars today.

After its recovery, the watch was passed from Astor’s son Vincent to the son of his father’s executive secretary William Dobbyn.

The sale of the watch surpasses the previous highest amount paid for a Titanic artifact. Until now, a violin that played as the ship sank held the record at $1.6 million, also sold at Henry Aldridge & Son.

The violin case was sold at the same auction as the pocket watch, and fetched £360,000 ($451,000).

Titanic memorabilia, auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told the PA news agency, “reflect not only the importance of the artefacts themselves and their rarity but they also show the enduring appeal and fascination with the Titanic story.”

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