Before the Titanic plunged into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, passengers aboard the storied passenger ship may have feasted on corned beef, potted shrimp and dumplings, according to an unusual artifact from the doomed vessel: a lunch menu dated April 14, 1912, the day before the sinking.
The menu, along with several other items from the Titanic’s final days afloat, will be put up for auction Sept. 30 in New York. The crumpled menu is expected to sell for at least $50,000, according to Lion Heart Autographs, the online auction house handling the sale.
First-class passenger Abraham Lincoln Salomon salvaged the creased and tattered carte du jour, which was tucked inside his pocket when the ship went down after colliding with an iceberg. Salomon was one of just 12 people who dodged death by boarding the infamous Lifeboat No. 1, or “Money Boat.” (In total, about 700 of the ship’s 2,223 passengers and crew members survived.) [Image Gallery: Stunning Shots of the Titanic Shipwreck]
The lifeboat, which could have held 40 people, was nicknamed for the five wealthy passengers it carried to safety as well as for the widely held belief that those passengers paid the only other people on the boat — seven Titanic crew members — to row away from the sinking ship instead of taking on any more survivors.
In addition to the battered menu, Salomon saved a small ticket from a chair at the Titanic’s Turkish baths that recorded a person’s weight. Inscribed on the ticket are the names of three of the passengers who accompanied Salomon on the lifeboat: Miss Laura Mabel Francatelli, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon. The tiny ticket is expected to fetch as much as $10,000 at auction.
The final “Money Boat” artifact to be auctioned off is a letter sent by Francatelli, who was an employee of Lady Duff-Gordon, to Salomon, dated six months after the sinking. The letter reads:
“We do hope you have now quite recovered from the terrible experience. I am afraid our nerves are still bad, as we had such trouble & anxiety added to our already awful experience by the very unjust inquiry when we arrived in London.”
Written on stationary from the Plaza Hotel in New York, the letter may sell for upward of $4,000, according to Lion Heart Autographs.
(In addition to the Titanic memorabilia, the auction will feature such items as a stack of 170 letters written by Aldrich Ames, the former CIA operative convicted in 1994 of serving as a double agent for the Soviet Union, and an April 1938 letter written by Albert Einstein in which the Nobel Prize-winning physicist advises a man named John Stone against a career in mathematics.)