Tag Archives: Brooke Astor

A Disgraced Astor Heir and The Case of the Astor Watch

John Jacob Astor IV
Photo Wikipedia

This is like a Perry Mason novel. An heir to John Jacob Astor, Anthony ‘Tony’ Marshall,was convicted in 2009 of conning his mother, Brooke Astor, out of $60 million. He was sentenced to jail but living a quiet life while appealing the conviction. He showed up at the recent bash given by Clive Palmer. While there, he showed off a watch that was recovered from John Jacob Astor’s body and saying he was selling it for $1 million. Marshall claims the watch was given to his mother by her third husband, Vincent Astor. However John Miottel, a collector, claims that he owns the real Astor watch.

Here is the story everyone agrees one.  Astor’s body was found with the gold watch, cuff links, and a ring. Vincent Astor claimed the body in Nova Scotia and wore the watch. He left the watch to his godson, William Dobbyn V. After that the story changes. Elizabeth Dobbyn auctioned the watch in 1997 where Miottel bought it. In Marshall’s story, the watch was never auctioned off and given to his mother by Vincent Astor. So we are left with two Astor watches but only one of them can be the real deal. Miottel claims he documentation to prove its authenticity. The New York Post saw the documentation showing it had been auctioned by Brunk Auctions in Ashland, N.C.

So on one hand you have a real estate magnate who collects luxury ocean-liner memorabilia with documentation to prove his claim. And on the other you have someone convicted of defrauding his mother of $60 million, first-degree grand larceny, and scheming to defraud who says the watch came from Vincent Astor to his mother. The Gothamist has a good retort to make Marshall’s alleged Astor watch more valuable: “Just have it sink with the obviously doomed Titanic II and then fish it back up again.”


1. Astor Pariah’s Titanic Greed (28 Feb 2013, New York Post)

2. Astor’s Son Accused Of Hawking Fake Heirlooms To Titanic II Partiers(5 Mar 2013 ,Gothamist)

3. Brooke Astor’s Disgraced Son Is ‘Selling A Fraudulent Titanic Heirloom Pocket Watch For $1M And Claiming It Is The One Worn By John Jacob Astor To His Death’(5 Mar 2013, Daily Mail)