Edgar Allan Poe’s good times did not last

Watch owned by Edgar Allan Poe – $200,000 (£157,480) at Christie's New York.

Though his works are now revered and highly valued in his native land, Edgar Allan Poe spent most of his writing life in debt. There were, however, a few months in the early 1840s when, while working in Philadelphia as an editor and contributor on ‘Graham’s Magazine’, he enjoyed some short-lived financial success.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

Watch owned by Edgar Allan Poe – $200,000 (£157,480) at Christie’s New York.

It was then that he treated himself to the French gold-cased pocket watch shown here.

Sadly, those good times did not last and all too quickly the watch passed – as collateral or in part payment, with a valuation of $169 – into the hands of one of his creditors, a local merchant tailor.

Poe filed for bankruptcy in 1844 and moved to New York, where he died five years later, but his posthumous fame even led to a change in the watch’s fortunes.

By the beginning of the 20th century it had become a precious relic and over the years has changed hands a number of times. The most recent exchange took place at Christie’s New York (25/20/13.5% buyer’s premium), where on June 12 the watch sold for $200,000 (then £157,480).