News & Politics

MYSTERY SOLVED: Jeff Bezos Bought a Watergate Lock for $62,500

Bob Woodward showed off the mogul's piece of history at a Washington Post event Friday.

The Washington Post‘s live event Friday on the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in featured veteran Post reporter Dan Balz interviewing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about their famous work on the Watergate story. As one might expect, “Woodstein” offered journalistic advice—knocking on doors at night was a key reporting tool, Bernstein said—and shared some opinions about the January 6 committee (Woodward said its investigation had uncovered a “clear, lay-down case of obstruction of justice.”)

But Washingtonian spent much of the session in the Post‘s event space Friday fixated on a slab of wood next to Woodward. There’s no way, we thought, that this distinctive display is not the same busted Watergate lock that sold for $62,500 at an auction back in 2017.

Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

When reporting a feature last year about about the Post‘s plans under new editor Sally Buzbee, we picked up a tidbit: Post owner Jeff Bezos told some of the candidates for executive editor that he owned a lock busted by the Watergate burglars. Sadly, the Post wouldn’t confirm whether Bezos was the owner of this particular piece of hardware—Post publisher Fred Ryan told us he wouldn’t comment on any items in Jeff Bezos’s house, not even the plates festooned with the Post logo that multiple people told us Bezos had used while dining with the hopefuls.

On Friday, Woodward said that Ryan brought the lock to lunch before the session, covered in a sheet, then dramatically unveiled it to show to the duo. Woodward confirmed that it belonged to Jeff Bezos, which nearly gave Washingtonian a heart attack. He said he didn’t know how much the mogul had paid for it. (A Washington Post spokesperson declined to comment on any of this.) Washingtonian is pleased to present Bob Woodward with the best obtainable version of the truth: Unless there are somehow two identical wooden-board displays with busted Watergate door hardware attached to them, Jeff Bezos paid $62,500 for that lock. Now we just need a photo of those plates.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

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