Skip links

John Jacob Astor’s Gold Pocket Watch Sells for Record-breaking £900,000

A gold pocket watch once owned by John Jacob Astor, the wealthiest passenger aboard the Titanic, has fetched an astonishing £900,000 at auction, surpassing its estimated value by sixfold. The auction, held in Wiltshire, initially projected the watch to sell for £150,000, but enthusiastic bidding drove its final price to unprecedented heights.

The total cost, including taxes and fees, amounts to £1.175 million, marking a new world record for the highest amount paid for a single item from the ill-fated liner. This surpasses the previous record held by a Titanic artefact, a violin, which also sold for £900,000 but amounted to £1.1 million with taxes and fees.

The watch and other Titanic memorabilia, such as a violin case belonging to Wallace Hartley, the bandleader who famously played as the ship sank, were part of a larger auction of over 280 lots related to ocean liners in Devizes.

John Jacob Astor, aged 47, tragically perished along with more than 1,500 others when the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 14, 1912. His watch, which survived the disaster, was eventually restored and worn by his son, Vincent Astor.

Wallace Hartley, whose valise containing the violin was recovered with his body, also became a symbol of the Titanic tragedy. Despite the damage inflicted by water, the violin case endured, reflecting the resilience of these historical artefacts.

David Beddard, chairman of the British Titanic Society, remarked on the significance of Astor’s watch, which witnessed the poignant moments of his final actions aboard the ship. Similarly, the recovery of Hartley’s violin case provides a tangible link to the events of that fateful night.

The auctioneer, Andrew Aldridge, emphasized the individual stories that collectively form the tapestry of the Titanic’s legacy. Each artefact serves as a poignant reminder of the human drama and tragedy that unfolded aboard the iconic vessel.

With its enduring allure and timeless resonance, the Titanic continues to captivate the imagination of people worldwide, reminding us of the indelible mark left by one of history’s most infamous maritime disasters.

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.