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Valuable Item From Titanic Wreckage Set To Fetch Thousands Of Dollars At Auction

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Henry Aldridge & Son of Devizes is set to auction a watch recovered from the wealthiest ill-fated Titanic passenger, tycoon Col. John Jacob Astor. Astor was one of the richest people in the world at the time and lost his life at 47 as the famous ship sank on April 14, 1912.

The 14-carat engraved Waltham timepiece was found in Astor’s pocket after his body was recovered a week after the sinking, the initials JJA on the watch and sewn on his jacket. It was passed down to his son, who gifted it to his godson before it joined a Titanic collector’s stash in the ‘90s.

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More on item from Titanic wreckage that belonged to tycoon Col. John Jacob Astor

Astor was reportedly last seen on the liner smoking and chatting with a fellow first-class passenger while being expensively dressed. After helping his 19-year-old pregnant wife onto a lifeboat, he was stopped from joining her by First Officer Charles Lightoller who was only letting in women and children.

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The watch and most of his estate, which was worth about $87 million at the time (equal to nearly $3 billion today) was left to his 20-year-old son Vincent, who, as noted, gifted the timepiece to Astor’s godson, William Dobbyn in 1935. William’s father was Vincent Astor’s secretary, and he joined the couple on a honeymoon to Egypt and France in September 1911; however, he chose to stay back in France while the expecting couple left for the U.S. via the Titanic.

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The watch recovered from William’s family has been displayed several times since the ‘90s, including at the National Geographic Exhibition in Washington DC. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge is set to sell it at an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 alongside an affidavit from William’s daughter-in-law proving it was indeed gifted by Astor.

Aldridge, who considers the watch “a unique part of the Titanic story,” will also put Astor’s gold cufflinks up at $5,000 to $8,000 and a map of Titanic’s staterooms, used by William’s father to plan Astor’s journey at $20,000 to $30,000.

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