According to items in the scrapbook I have (devoted to the Astors though I have no idea who kept this - I bought it at an antique fair a few years back), Col. Astor was estimated to have been worth anywhere from $100,000,000 to as much as $450,000,000. Unfortunately the sources of many of these clippings are unidentified and undated, though they all are concerned with Astor's death and Mrs. Astor's escape. I hope to make photo copies of the pages before the clippings become too brittle and send them to Phil Hind to use here on ET if he wants to. One of the items claims Mrs. Astor had with her jewelry from Cartier worth 15,000,000 francs ($3,000,000). Another, purporting to be an interview with an Astor family representative, claims that Mrs. Astor came on deck that night in a light evening dress and shawl but when it was evident that she would have to leave the ship in a lifeboat, Col. Astor sent his wife's maid back for a heavier woolen dress and an extra wrap which she actually changed into right in the gymnasium assisted by her maid and shielded from the crowd by Astor.
I never miss an opportunity to promote Beechwood in Newport , R.I., the Astor "summer cottage". The tour includes live role-players who interact with the touring guests. Well worth a trip to Newport. Madeline and J.J. were married in the ballroom (which ironically has a sea motif in the design of the wave mirrors) and overlooks the water. They left from here in Sept. 1911 for their grand honeymoon tour. I also never miss a chance to promote The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan which is where the Astors started off in the fur trading business- a large sign still hangs on the side of the site of their original offices. Grand Hotel is the setting for Somewhere in Time, the film-set in-1912! For more about Beechwood go to http://www.astors-beechwood.com/Home.html and be DAZZLED.
John Jacob Astor also left estate in Great Britain.This went to probate on 23rd July 1912. Probate was granted through the London Court of Probate to James Roosevelt Roosevelt (no, I haven't typed it in twice!!) and the effects in England amounted to £90965,13s.4d. In those days I think there were about $4 to every £1
I knew that JJA was the richest man on the titanic and that he was over a millon, which was alot of money back then. Wasn't John Jacob Astro a son of a rich man? i don't have my titanic books with me because we moved and the rest is a long story. I'm sorry if i'm asking tooo many questions.
Astor was worth about $100,000,000 in round figures. He left some $87,000,000 to his eldest son, Vincent, as it was the Astor practice to keep the family wealth concentrated. Madeleine was looked after under a temporary arrangement that Astor drew up when he got married. He had intended to revise his will to take account of his new wife and the coming son but never made it back to the US to do so.
Astor's wealth was based on the work of his ancestors beginning with J J Astor I in the eighteenth century. It began with commerce, which made the money needed to get into real estate. By 1912 Astor owned geat slabs of Manhattan Island.
By the way, the exchange rate in 1912 was based on the gold standard and was always very close to $4.86 to the pound.
Yes JJA did have a lot of family money. The family first came to the states back in the eighteenth century and they were fur trappers. They made a lively trade and had something of a monoploy and their wealth grew from there.
By JJA's time, they were one of the wealthest and most socially promonant families in America. To give you an indication, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York was done by JJA (Astoria section) and his cousin Waldorf, 1st Visocunt Astor (Waldorf section).
JJA's mother was the famous Caroline Schemmerhorn Astor (Mrs William Blackhouse Astor), the leader of the 400 society in New York. It was she who refused to recognise the Vanderbilt family for so long.
Mrs JJA (Madeline) settlement I believe was $5 million a year and the use of the Astor houses as long as she never remarried. After about 5 years however, Madeline married Mr William Dick, and her Astor inheritance was forfited.