Edgar Allan Poe’s pocket watch could snatch 6-figure sum at auction

American writer Edgar Allan Poe’s gold pocket watch will be up for auction next week — and the piece is expected to fetch up to $120,000.

The 18k gold open-face watch will be up for auction on Wednesday, June 12, as part of the “Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana” sale at Christie’s in New York City.

The auction house estimated the watch to be auctioned for $80,000 to $120,000. The watch is engraved with the lettering, “Echappement A Cylindre En – Aiguilley – Edgar A. Poe – Pierre Huit Trous En Rubis” and the number 21705 engraved inside the cover.

Poe was born in Boston in 1809 before he reportedly lived in Philadelphia and worked as an editor at Graham’s Magazine, according to the auction house. His annual salary was reported $800 “with additional pay for contributions.” The auction house stated it was most likely during his time of employment with the magazine that he purchased the gold watch. However, Poe went into debt and filed for bankruptcy. He apparently gave the pocket watch to J.W. Albright, a merchant tailor, as a payment.

American writer Edgar Allan Poe’s personal pocket watch will be up for auction on June 12 and could fetch up to $120,000. (Christie's)

“According to 19th- and early 20th-century newspaper articles, the watch stayed in the Albright family for more than fifty years until it was sold c.1894 to a Wisconsin jeweler,” according to a description of the watch on Christie’s website. “It changed hands twice more before being sold in 1977 to the Schmidt family and thence inherited by the consignor.”

Poe is known for his mysterious short stories such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and the “The Pit and the Pendulum.” His poems “The Raven” and “The Bells” are some of his best-known work.


The writer died in October 1849 at the age of 40. Not much is known about the cause of his death, which has been studied for years since.