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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).