Vincent Astor was just 20 years old and an undergraduate at Harvard when his father John Jacob Astor IV went down with the Titanic. At that moment, Vincent inherited what was the biggest personal fortune on earth at that time.
When the Titanic went down in 1912, his stepmother Madeleine survived. His father’s body was retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean and transported back to New York. The gold watch that John Astor kept in his pocket had been secured by his life jacket and it was presented to his only son. Vincent carried it in his pocket every day for the rest of his life.
John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV was the richest person in the world at the time of his death on the Titanic in 1912. He was the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor I, who made his first million trading furs from Canada to wealthy women in New York City. Astor I then used his money to buy up vast quantities of real estate around New York, especially in what we now call Manhattan.
At the time of Astor I’s death in 1848, he left behind a fortune of $20 million. $20 million today would be big fortune. We’re talking about $20 million in 1848. At You can’t even really use an inflation calculator to understand how much money that was worth in today’s dollars. To understand that amount of money in today’s dollars, historians compare its value as a portion of gross domestic product. When comparing to its portion of America’s Gross Domestic Product, Astor I’s fortune is worth the modern equivalent of $121 BILLION dollars. That fortune made him the 14th richest human of all time and the fifth richest American ever.
John Jacob Astor IV his son had been exceptionally close. A biography of the Astors by Justin Kaplan called “When the Astors Owned New York” said:
“Vincent adored him and was adored in return… Jack spent much of his time away from Ava in the company of their son… he was happiest sailing with Vincent on board the steam yacht he had inherited from his pleasure-loving father.”
Inheriting a Massive Fortune
When the Titanic sank, everything in Vincent Astor’s life changed. Overnight he went from an obscure undergraduate at Harvard to being one of the richest humans on the planet.
Read more at : https://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/billionaire-news/when-the-titanic-sank-20-year-old-vincent-astor-became-one-of-the-richest-men-in-the-world/