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UNBELIEVABLE! Gold pocket watch of Titanic's wealthiest passenger sold for $1.2 million

A gold pocket watch, once owned by the wealthiest passenger on the ill-fated RMS Titanic, has been sold for a record-breaking $1.2 million at an auction. The timepiece was purchased by an anonymous collector in the United States during a sale conducted by Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Gold pocket watch of Titanic's wealthiest passenger sold for USD 1.2 million gcw
First Published Apr 28, 2024, 3:18 PM IST

A gold pocket watch belonging to the Titanic's wealthiest passenger was sold for £900,000 ($1.2 million), setting a new record for Titanic memorabilia auctions. The 14-carat gold Waltham pocket watch, owned by industrialist John Jacob Astor IV, who died with the ship in 1912 aged 47, was purchased by a private collector in the US at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, at an auction on Saturday, according to BBC news.

"Astor is well known as the richest passenger aboard the R.M.S. Titanic and was thought to be among the richest people in the world at that time, with a net worth of roughly $87 million (equivalent to several billion dollars today,)" the company said in a statement.

The watch, engraved with the initials JJA, was discovered alongside Astor's body when his remains were retrieved several days after the Titanic sank. He was discovered sporting a diamond ring, gold, and diamond cufflinks. John Jacob Astor IV's cufflinks and a schematic of the Titanic's first-class accommodations were also up for auction.

Astor was one of around 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg. His pregnant wife, Madeleine, survived. 

Astor's body was found a week after the disaster, with the watch among his personal belongings. "The watch itself was completely restored after being returned to Colonel Astor's family and worn by his son," said a statement from the auction house.

The previous highest amount paid for a Titanic artefact was for a violin. In November, a rare menu from the Titanic's first-class dinner was sold at auction, coupled with a pocket watch from another man who perished in the 1912 disaster.

John Jacob Astor IV was born into one of America's most prominent and richest families and was the wealthiest passenger to die on board the Titanic.

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