A Watch That Melted During Atomic Blast Over Hiroshima, Japan, Sells for More Than USD 31,000

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This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the 6 August bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing s of World War II, sold on 22 February 2024 for more than USD 31,000. (Photo: Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)

BOSTON (AP)—A watch melted during the 6 August 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, has sold for more than USD 31,000 at auction.

The watch is frozen in time at the moment of the detonation of an atomic bomb over the Japanese city — 8:15 am—during the closing days of World War II, according to Boston-based RR Auction. The winning bid in the auction that ended Thursday was USD 31,113.

The artifact was recovered from the ruins of Hiroshima and offers a glimpse into the immense destruction of the first atomic bomb detonated over a city.

The small brass-tone watch, a rare survivor from the blast zone, was auctioned alongside other historically significant items, according to the auction house. Despite the cloudiness of the crystal caused by the blast, the watch’s hands remain halted at 8:15 am—the moment when the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb.

The auction house said that according to the item’s consignor, a British soldier retrieved the wristwatch from the ruins of the city while on a mission to provide emergency supplies and assess post-conflict reconstruction needs at the Prefectural Promotion Hall in Hiroshima.

“It is our fervent hope that this museum-quality piece will stand as a poignant educational symbol, serving to not only remind us of the tolls of war but also to underscore the profound, destructive capabilities that humanity must strive to avoid,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction. “This wristwatch, for instance, marks the exact moment in time when history changed forever.”

The winning bidder opted to remain anonymous.

Other items featured in the auction included a signed copy of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s “The Little Red Book,” which sold for $250,000; a signed check from George Washington—one of two known checks signed as president to ever come to market — which sold for USD 135,473; and Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 Lunar Module Prep Checklist, which sold for USD 76,533, according to RR Auction.

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By BY STEVE LEBLANC Associated Press