Broken Watch Chalks Up Titanic Sum

An 18-carat gold pocket watch, which belonged to a Titanic passenger, Nora Keane, is seen at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Mass., Sunday, May 1, 2005, on top of a collection of sheet music related to the Titanic. Both items will be auctioned off with other rare Titanic relics at the Museum on Sunday. Keane was rescued in lifeboat. Her pocket watch stopped ticking when it hit water. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki) AP

Dozens of Titanic relics auctioned for more than $150,000 Sunday, including a gold pocket watch owned by an Irish immigrant that stopped ticking the day of the sinking when she was rescued in a lifeboat.

The watch, once owned by Nora Keane of County Limerick, Ireland, was sold for $24,675, more than three times its estimated value, said Jon Baddeley, Bonhams & Butterfields auction house's marine collectibles expert.

Keane, who had emigrated to Harrisburg, Pa., was returning to the United States on the luxury liner's maiden voyage after a four-month visit to see her mother. It was damaged by water as she was rescued in lifeboat No. 10.

"It's been stopped ever since," Baddeley said. "We had a lot of interest from Ireland."

On the back of the watch was engraved the message: "To my dearest Nora, your visit to County Limerick warmed my heart. God bless and be with you on your return to Pennsylvania." It's signed: "Loving mother."

The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic on April 14 and 15, 1912, killing about 1,500 people.

The top sale price at the auction was $44,650 for the only known example of a 3rd class menu postcard, dated April 14, 1912. The card has a picture of the Titanic at the top, with the entire day's menu printed on it.

Baddeley said the items had belonged to a British private collector who wished to remain anonymous.
  • Jaime Holguin

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