It’s a rather morbid artifact to have in a collection: The very last lunch menu served on the doomed passenger ship, the RMS Titanic.
The food on offer that day in 1912 was perfectly ordinary and a bit humdrum for its ship of wealthy and famous passengers: corned beef and dumplings were among the items on the menu, the Associated Press reported.
And for an estimated $70,00, you can own this bit of history when the Titanic menu is sold to the highest bidder at an online auction planned for the end of September — the auction marks 30 years since the wreckage was discovered.
On the afternoon of April 14, first-class passenger Abraham Lincoln Salomon had lunch with Isaac Gerald Frauenthal — his signature is on the back of the menu. Salomon had the menu with him as he boarded a lifeboat, afterward dubbed the “Money Boat,” as the Titanic sunk into the Atlantic Ocean.
The “Money Boat” or “Millionaire’s Boat” earned the moniker because its few passengers were rumored to have slipped the crew some money to keep paddling from the ship rather than rescue others. Those rumors weren’t true, but this fact remains, according to the Mirror — only five passengers were aboard the lifeboat. It had a capacity of 40.
Abraham had some prestigious ties. He was 44 when he boarded the Titanic, married a woman with family connections to photographer Alfred Stieglitz and artist Georgia O’Keefe. Business in the wholesale stationery industry brought Salomon to Europe in 1912, and the Titanic was bringing him home. After the disaster, he never spoke of the ship. Family remembered him as odd and reclusive, a man who kept apart from the rest of the family and rarely spoke.
He died in 1959 at 90-years-old, leaving a fortune of $117,000 and one daughter. He has only couple descendants remaining still alive.
The menu that Abraham saved from that last day on the Titanic is expected to bring in $50,000 to $70,000 at the auction, hosted by Lion Heart Autographs. Two other artifacts will join the lunch menu, including a receipt from the ship’s Turkish baths.
Three of the five people whose names appear on the receipt were also first class passengers rescued with Salomon on the “Money Boat.” The receipt is specifically for a weighing chair — an upholstered lounge chair that recorded a person’s weight — and is one of only four known to exist in the world. It’s expected to fetch up to $10,000.
The third item on offer is a letter written by Mabel Francatelli to Salomon, in which she decries the lingering trauma of the Titanic’s sinking six months afterward. The letter was written on stationary from New York’s Plaza Hotel.
“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.”
It’s estimated it will sell for $4,000 to $6,000.
Francatelli climbed into a lifeboat with her employer, Lucy Duff-Gordon, an aristocrat and fashion designer, who after the disaster was accused of bribing the crew — much like the passengers on the “Millionaire’s Boat” — to row away from the boat, leaving others to drown. The Duff-Gordons were ultimately cleared.
As everyone knows thanks to James Cameron’s movie on the famous ship, the unsinkable and gigantic Titanic sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Among the 2,224 passengers were the richest people in the world, as well as emigrants moving to the U.S.
Tuesday marks 30 years since the wreck was discovered by Jean-Louis Michel and Robert Ballard.
[Photos Courtesy Topical Press Agency / Getty Images]