A Gold Watch Found On The Body Of The Richest Person On The Titanic Just Sold For For $1.5 Million

A Gold Watch Found On The Body Of The Richest Person On The Titanic Just Sold For For $1.5 Million

By Oghale May8,2024

Patrick Gruhn, former head of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has purchased a fascinating piece of memorabilia salvaged from the infamous wreck of the Titanic. Gruhn just paid $1.5 million for a 14-karat gold watch that belonged to doomed Titanic passenger John Jacob Astor IV. The watch was recovered along with Astor’s body about a week after the Titanic sank and stayed in the Astor family until the 90s when it was purchased by a collector.

John Jacob Astor IV was not only the richest person on the Titanic on that fateful day, he was also the richest person in the world.

He was born into one of the wealthiest families in the history of the US. The family fortune originated from his great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor, an immigrant from Germany who arrived in the US in the late 1700s and then built his initial fortune selling beaver pelts to make fur coats. He established the American Fur Company in 1808, which became a monopoly in the fur trade business. He also expanded his operations to the Pacific Northwest, establishing Fort Astoria in Oregon. Astor invested his fur profits into real estate in New York City. His private estate was a 70-acre farm that today would encompass all of the area between 42nd and 46th streets, west of Broadway to the Hudson River.

A year before he died on Titanic, John Jacob Astor IV became somewhat infamous for marrying an 18-year-old socialite named Madeleine Talmage Force when he was 47.

On the day Titanic sank, John Jacob IV was worth $85 million. That’s the same as $2.7 billion in today’s dollars. Also, on the day Titanic sank, Madeleine was five months pregnant. She gave birth to John Jacob Astor VI in August 1912. John Jacob VI lived to be 79, dying in 1992.

The watch’s new owner, Patrick Gruhn, has said he relates to Astor as a fellow German immigrant to the United States, which was part of why he decided to acquire the artifact. And according to Andrew Aldridge of Henry Aldridge Auctions, the watch still works!


By Oghale

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