The Titanic postal clerk’s pocket watch sold for $166,000. Henry Aldrige & Sons auction house executed the 266-lot sale of Titanic, White Star. The house also executed the sale of other transport memorabilia. The watch belonged to a crew member killed in the sinking of the HMS Titanic.
The Tragic Story Behind Titanic Postal Clerk’s Pocket Watch
The timepiece in question belonged to postal clerk Oscar Scott Woody. He worked aboard the passenger liner when it struck that fateful iceberg on April 14, 1912. In fact, the watch is actually frozen at the time he went into the cold North Atlantic. There were also more than 1,500 other ill-fated passengers.
When they recovered his body, his waterlogged pocket watch became the possession of his wife Leila the following month. Some 110 years on, the relic sold for $116,000 at a Henry Aldrige & Sons auction over the weekend. The place of the auction was in the small market town of Devizes, England.
The watch’s screen is shattered and both the minute and second hands are missing. There is, however, a faint imprint of a hand visible between four and five numerals. This also coincides with reports that the ship sank at 2:21 am. Woody and his fellow mail clerks reportedly died trying to save sacks of letters from the flooded storage room to no avail.
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The prefix “RMS” before the name of the Titanic, indicates the ship was initially hired to carry transatlantic mail.
“Every man, woman, and child had a story to share” – Aldridge Auction House
Before joining the elite clerks of the Sea Post Service, Woody spent fifteen years working for the Railway Mail Service (RMS). In order to keep up with a steamer’s schedule, they had to sort 60,000 mails per day.
Their squad acted because the Titanic’s duties placed mail first. Because of that, they had to carry the flooded mailroom’s mailbag. Devotion to the ship certainly prevented any of the Titanic’s mail workers from escaping. No one lived.
The timepiece was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the Titanic memorabilia on offer at last Saturday’s auction. A list of first-class passengers sold for $48,000. Also, a first-class menu featuring “plover on toast” went for $60,000. Other highlights included an elegant dessert plate that realized just over $23,000. Also, an “a la carte” section of the menu achieved more than $27,000.
Henry Aldrige & Sons developed a reputation for collecting, authenticating and auctioning vintage finds from the Titanic. “It ended up with us, as we are the world’s leaders in the sale of Titanic memorabilia”, Aldridge told Artnet. In 2017, the family-owned auction house sold a fur coat owned by a first-class stewardess for $178,000.
They also sold a letter by passenger Oscar Holverson for nearly $150,000. It’s further proof that the Titanic still piques interest even a century after its sinking. “Every man, woman, and child had a story to share”, Aldridge continued. “The memorabilia we auction tells those stories”.