An original menu from the last first-class lunch served aboard the ill-fated Titanic has sold for $88,000 to a private collector at an online auction.
The luncheon menu had been saved by a first-class passenger, Abraham Lincoln Salomon, one of only a handful of people who climbed aboard a lifeboat called the “Money Boat” or “Millionaires’ Boat” when the main ship started sinking into the icy waters of the Atlantic.
The lifeboat gained its moniker because the wealthy passengers it saved purportedly bribed the crew to row away from the disaster rather than rescue more people.
What’s for lunch?
Signed on the back in pencil by another first-class passenger, Isaac Gerald Frauenthal, the menu provides a fascinating insight into both the opulence on board the ship and food fashions of the day.
Diners had the option of starting with fillets of brill, a type of fish, or cockie leekie (also known as cock-a-leekie), a Scottish soup of leeks and chicken stock. They could also indulge in options from the buffet, including potted shrimps, soused herrings, brawn — a type of jellied meat — and corned ox tongue.
An elaborate platter of eight different types of cheese was served to finish the midday meal.
New York-based autograph dealer, Lion Heart Autographs, offered the menu for sale from an unidentified person who it said was a descendent of one of the survivors of the boat. It is one of only three or four menus from the last first-class lunch still in existence and fetched a healthy premium over its estimated $50,000 – $70,000 price tag.
Further Titanic items
Two other artifacts from the “Money Boat”, or Lifeboat 1 as it was formally known, were also sold at the auction, which marked the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the boat’s watery grave.
These were a printed ticket from a weighing chair located in the ship’s Turkish baths, which sold for $11,000, and a letter to the man who was alleged to have paid off the lifeboat’s crew, which sold for $7,500.
The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage in the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg the previous evening. It was carrying just over 2,200 passengers and crew, of whom 1,517 died. None of the survivors of the tragedy are alive today, but the disaster — and its memorabilia — continue to capture the world’s imagination.