$80k for Thomas Jefferson's 'memento' watch key

A memento mori watch key once owned by Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, will sell with an estimate of $40,000-80,000 at Christie's.

Remarkably, it contains hair from Jefferson's beloved wife, Martha. She died aged 33 in 1782, after which he never remarried.

Forever mindful of his dear companion:
Thomas Jefferson's watch key ($40k-80k)

According to Christie's, scientific analysis performed by McCrone Associates, Inc in March 2009 confirms that the hair is genuine.

"Nay if even in the house of Hades men forget their dead. Yet will I even there be mindful of my dear companion," - Thomas Jefferson's chosen epitaph on the grave of his wife, Martha

With these words, Jefferson promised to remember his wife.

The gold watch key, it is assumed, was commissioned by him as a way of fulfilling this promise.

Beautifully engraved in a gold casing, this watch key of singular provenance is a poignant testament to Jefferson's love for his wife, which will no doubt be reflected in its final hammer price.

The Christie's important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver & Chinese Export sale begins today and takes place until January 25 at New York's Rockefeller Plaza.


Images: Christie's


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