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Article: Gold Pocket Watch Belonging To Richest Passenger On Titanic Sells For Record Sum

Gold Watch  Richest Passenger On Titanic Sells For Record Sum
Gold Watch

Gold Pocket Watch Belonging To Richest Passenger On Titanic Sells For Record Sum

A gold pocket watch recovered from the body of the richest man who had the misfortune to die when the Titanic sunk has sold for a record-breaking USD 1,57 MILLION.

The gold pocket watch, once belonging to businessman John Jacob Astor, was acquired by a private collector in the US during a remarkable auction at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Gold Watch Belonging To Richest Passenger On Titanic  Record Sum

John Jacob Astor, aged 47, tragically perished on the Titanic in 1912, having gallantly seen his new wife, Madeleine, to safety aboard a lifeboat. This remarkable sale breaks previous records for Titanic memorabilia, surpassing the US 1.37 million paid for a violin played during the ship's sinking, which now resides at Titanic Belfast.

Andrew Aldridge, the auctioneer, said the prices fetched by Titanic memorabilia were absolutely incredible, attributing their allure to the enduring fascination with the Titanic's poignant narrative.

Astor’s Gold Pocket Watch - A Testament To Wealth And Luxury

Astor's watch, a testament to wealth and luxury, bears witness to one of the countless stories woven into the fabric of the Titanic's legacy.

“They reflect not only the importance of the artifacts themselves and their rarity but they also show the enduring appeal and fascination with the Titanic story", Aldridge said.

“112 years later, we are still talking about the ship and the passengers and the crew. The thing with the Titanic story, it’s effectively a large ship hits an iceberg with a tragic loss of life, but more importantly is 2,200 stories.

“2,200 subplots, every man woman and child had a story to tell and then the memorabilia tells those stories today”, he added.

John Jacob Astor, scion of the illustrious Astor family and one of the world's wealthiest individuals at the time, met his fate calmly as the Titanic succumbed to the icy waters. He went down with the ship and was last seen smoking a cigarette and smoking with a fellow passenger before his death.

His body, recovered seven days later, bore witness to the tragedy, with his cherished 14-carat gold Waltham pocket watch, engraved with his initials, serving as a poignant reminder of his final moments.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge explained: “Astor is well known as the richest passenger aboard the RMS Titanic and was thought to be among the richest people in the world at that time, with a net worth of roughly $87million – equivalent to several billion dollars today”.

Astor's immense fortune and his actions on that fateful night resonate through history, encapsulating the human drama of the Titanic's sinking. His wife, Madeleine, survived, while Astor's remains were discovered near the site of the disaster.

The transfer of the watch from Astor's son Vincent to the offspring of his father's trusted secretary, William Dobby, adds another layer of significance to this remarkable artifact, ensuring that Astor's legacy endures through the generations.

Who Was John Jacob Astor?

John Jacob Astor, born in July 1864, hailed from one of the most affluent families in the United States, tracing their lineage back to Germany, Italy, and the Swiss Alps, with their roots firmly planted in North America since the 18th century.

Astor's multifaceted career included service as a lieutenant colonel during the Spanish-American War and endeavors as a real estate developer, investor, and business tycoon.

His prominence as the wealthiest passenger aboard the RMS Titanic underscored his status as one of the era's wealthiest individuals.

In 1891, Astor wed socialite Ava Lowle Willing, with whom he had two children, William and Ava. Their union ended in divorce in 1909, following Astor's announcement of his intention to remarry.

The controversy surrounding Astor's rapid remarriage and the notable 29-year age gap between him and his second wife, 18-year-old Madeleine Talmage Force, was a subject of considerable public attention at the time.




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