Last Updated: July 3, 2024
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$2.3 Billion
Jul 13, 1864 - Apr 15, 1912 (47 years old)
Rhinebeck, New York, U.S.
Business magnate
💰 Compare John Jacob Astor IV's Net Worth

What is John Jacob Astor IV's Net Worth?

John Jacob Astor IV was a business magnate, investor, and author who had a net worth of $85 million at the time of his death. That's the same as around $2.3 billion in today's dollars.

John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV was a member of the wealthy Astor family. In addition to making millions in real estate like his forebears, he wrote the 1894 science-fiction novel "A Journey in Other Worlds." Tragically, Astor died in 1912 as a passenger on the RMS Titanic. At the time of his death, Jack Astor was considered by many to be the richest person in the world. Upon his death, his 20-year-old son Vincent inherited the majority of his fortune.


Upon Astor's death, $69 million of his $85 million estate went to his son Vincent. The value included Astor's Ferncliff country estate and his Noma yacht. To his wife, he left $100,000 plus a $5 million trust fund, as well as his New York City and Newport mansions, a luxury limousine, and five of his prized horses. Astor's daughter Ava received a $10 million trust fund.

Early Life and Education

John Jacob Astor IV was born on July 13, 1864 in Rhinebeck, New York as the youngest of five children and the only son of Caroline and William Jr. His older sisters were Emily, Helen, Charlotte, and Carrie. Astor's great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor I, was a fur trader and real estate developer who was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first millionaire in American history. As a youth, Astor attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He went on to attend Harvard College.

Military Service

From 1894 to 1896, Astor served as a colonel on the military staff of New York governor Levi P. Morton. Following the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, Astor personally financed a volunteer artillery unit that served in the Philippines. Additionally, he was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the Volunteers and served as an officer on the staff of Major General William Shafter. During the war, Astor allowed his yacht Nourmahal to be used by the United States government.


In 1894, Astor published the science-fiction novel "A Journey in Other Worlds," which imagined life on Saturn and Jupiter in the year 2000. In other endeavors, he patented a number of inventions, including a bicycle brake and a device used to produce gas from peat moss. Like members of the Astor family who came before him, Astor IV also made millions in real estate. In 1897, he built the Astoria Hotel next to his cousin William's Waldorf Hotel in New York City; the two hotels eventually merged into the Waldorf-Astoria.

John Jacob Astor IV attends the Bradley Martin Ball.


Astor married his first wife, socialite Ava Willing, in 1891. They had two children, Vincent and Ava, before divorcing in late 1909. In 1911, at the age of 47, Astor married 18-year-old socialite Madeleine Force. The couple's age difference caused a stir among the public, prompting Astor and Force to take an extended honeymoon in Egypt and Europe.


On Astor and Force's honeymoon in Europe, Force became pregnant. Wanting the child to be born in the United States, the couple boarded the RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage to New York. They embarked in Cherbourg, France as the wealthiest passengers aboard the ship. The Astors were accompanied by their valet Victor Robbins, maid Rosalie Bidois, nurse Caroline Endres, and pet dog Kitty. After the Titanic hit the fateful iceberg, Astor was unfazed, believing the damage was not serious. Even as the ship's lifeboats for first class were being sent out, he played in the gymnasium with his wife. Eventually, Astor helped his wife into a lifeboat with her maid and nurse, and told them he would follow in another boat. While the trio survived, Astor died when the Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912. His body was among the 333 recovered in the wake of the sinking. Among the items found on him were a gold watch, a diamond ring, and $2,440 in notes.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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