Astor’s Titanic Pocket Watch Hits Auction Block: Maritime Relic

Astor's Titanic Pocket Watch Hits Auction Block: Maritime Relic

For just $187,000, you could become the proud owner of a pocket watch that belonged to one of the wealthiest Titanic victims, John Jacob Astor IV. The 14-carat gold Waltham timepiece engraved with “JJA” is set to be auctioned at Henry Aldridge & Son in Britain this weekend.

The story behind this stunning watch dates back to the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Astor’s body, along with his prized pocket watch, was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean a week after the ship’s collision with an iceberg. The starting bid for this historic piece is £60,000, but experts anticipate it could fetch up to £150,000 ($187,320).

John Jacob Astor IV, known for his real estate ventures including the Astoria Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, displayed immense bravery during the Titanic disaster. He helped his pregnant wife into a lifeboat before stepping back onto the sinking vessel, demonstrating his gallantry and selflessness.

Astor’s legacy as the richest passenger on the R.M.S. Titanic is cemented in history, with a staggering net worth equivalent to several billion dollars in today’s valuation. The recovered pocket watch was among the personal items that aided in identifying Astor, along with the distinctive initials sewn on his jacket’s lapel.

This valuable timepiece, meticulously restored and worn by Astor’s son, carries a unique narrative within the Titanic saga. Before heading to the auction, the watch had been showcased in various prestigious museums, underlining its significance in horological history and as a poignant relic of the world’s most famous ship.

As the auction of Astor’s pocket watch beckons collectors and history enthusiasts, it symbolizes a tangible link to the tragedy of 1912 and the opulence that characterized the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. This auction echoes a broader trend of Titanic-related items capturing public fascination, with relics like the door from James Cameron’s film fetching exorbitant sums and underscoring the enduring allure of this maritime catastrophe.

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