This pocket watch belonged to Robert Burns. It was a gift from his wife, Jean Armour.
A SYMBOL of one of literary history’s most famous romances, a watch given to Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns, by his wife Jean Armour, has been uncovered and is to go on public sale for the first time.
The silver pocket watch contains a delicate, hand-annotated love note written by Armour on a piece of paper hidden inside the case.
The “pair-cased” watch contains a hand-pierced paper insert with a twin love-bird and heart motifs, and the initials “R” and “J” inside them – which experts believe refer to Rabbie and Jean.
On the back of the watch, which experts say is in excellent condition, the words “Robt Burns Mauchline” and the date 1786 are engraved.
Phil Gregory, spokesman for the auctioneer Lyon & Turnbull, said the watch came from a private collection and the seller had opted to remain anonymous.
He said: “I’ve held the piece myself, and it’s in amazing condition. You would not have thought it was the age it is.
“The piece of paper that sits inside it is very pretty, and the ink that the ‘R’ and a ‘J’, is written in is really fresh.”
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The watch came up at auction in Edinburgh today and was expected to reach a price of £2,500.
It sold for £40,000.