Titanic postal clerk’s pocket watch sold at auction for $116,000

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A frozen-in-time gilded pocket watch found on the body of a crew member killed in the sinking for the HMS Titanic sold at auction Saturday for $116,000.

Oscar Scott Woody’s timepiece stopped at the moment the doomed luxury passenger liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on the morning of April 15, 1912, just hours after striking an iceberg during its maiden voyage from the UK to New York City.

Woody, the ship’s postal clerk, was among the 1,520 passengers and crew who perished in the sinking 110 years ago.

His body was pulled from the ocean 10 days later, along with some of his personal possessions.

Woody’s waterlogged Ingersoll pocket watch with a broken chain was returned to his widow, Leila, a month later, reported BBC News.

The watch belonged to Titanic mail clerk Oscar Scott Woody, who died trying to save sacks of letters, just hours after celebrating his 44th birthday aboard the ship.
The watch belonged to Titanic mail clerk Oscar Scott Woody, who died trying to save sacks of letters, just hours after celebrating his 44th birthday aboard the ship.
Woody was among the 1,520 passengers and crew who perished in the maritime disaster in the early hours of April 15, 1912.
Woody was among the 1,520 passengers and crew who perished in the maritime disaster in the early hours of April 15, 1912.
Getty Images

The watch’s screen was shattered and both the minute and second hands had snapped off. But an imprint from the minute hand is still visible between 4 and 5 on the watch face, which coincides with reports that the ship went to its watery grave at 2:21 a.m.

Woody, from Virginia, was celebrating his 44th birthday with his fellow mail clerks when the RMS Titanic struck the iceberg, sending frigid ocean water gushing into the hull and flooding five of the vessel’s watertight compartments.

According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Woody and his four colleagues sprung into action and with little regard for their personal safety rushed to try and save hundreds of sacks of mail from a flooded storage room, but to no avail.

The historic watch, which had ended up in a private collection, was sold at Henry Aldridge & Sons in Devizes, UK.

The auction also featured a first-class menu from the Titanic, which fetched nearly $60,000.
The auction also featured a first-class menu from the Titanic, which fetched nearly $60,000.
Henry Aldridge & Sons

The auction house is known for selling Titanic memorabilia, including a first-class stewardess’ fur coat that fetched $178,000 in 2017, and a letter from a passenger that sold for nearly $150,000 in the same year.

Saturday’s auction also featured a first-class menu printed on White Star Line’s letter paper, which sold for close to $60,000, and a list of first-class passengers belonging to professional gambler George Brereton, which went for more than $48,000.

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