As part of several iconic treasures from the fated sinking ship, the world’s “most valuable biscuit,” saved from the Titanic disaster, goes on auction later this month.
Auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son are offering several items and photographs relating to the Titanic disaster on an auction to be held on October 24, 2015, in Devizes, Wiltshire, England.
One might naturally ask how on Earth a single biscuit, with an estimated bidding range of $12,380 – $15,480, survived the experience?
It turns out it is a “Pilot” biscuit, produced by Spillers & Bakers, and it was salvaged from the survival kit on one of the lifeboats that carried passengers rescued from the Titanic disaster.
When the tragic accident happened, the SS Carpathia went to the rescue of Titanic passengers who managed to make it to the ship’s few lifeboats. One James Fenwick was a passenger on the rescue ship and found the biscuit in a lifeboat. Obviously seeing a future value for the hard tack cracker, he tucked it away into a Kodak envelope with a note reading “Pilot biscuit from Titanic lifeboat April 1912.”
Now, according to Andrew Aldridge of Henry Aldridge & Son, it has become the world’s most valuable biscuit.
“We don’t know which lifeboat the biscuit came from, but there are no other Titanic lifeboat biscuits in existence to my knowledge.”
He went on to say that it is incredible that the biscuit survived the Titanic disaster but mentioned that there have been a limited number of famous biscuits sold on auction in the past, including one from Ernest Shackleton’s Arctic expeditions, which sold several years ago for $4,460. Another biscuit that survived the sinking of the RMS Lusitania is reportedly currently on display at the Cobh Museum in Ireland.
— Quirker (@TheQuirker) October 9, 2015
Among other items on sale at the auction are some amazing photos showing the survivors of the Titanic disaster, along with a first-hand account of Fenwick’s experiences during their rescue. The account was part of a journal written by Fenwick, which originally was to be a record of his honeymoon trip but ended up becoming a unique chronicle of the events on board the SS Carpathia during the rescue operation.
Reportedly, the journal documents the first sightings of the passengers being rescued from the Titanic lifeboats on April 15, 1912, and details of the survivors on board the SS Carpathia, as well as their arrival in New York.
According to Irish Central, there is also one particularly notable image on sale of the SS Californian floating in the distance. Apparently, that ship heard the distress calls coming from the Titanic, but infamously failed to come to its aid during the incident. Fenwick’s journal also made mention of the SS California arriving on the scene but not participating in the rescue.
The auction website quotes extracts from the journal.
“5am. Awakened by hearing man’s voice ‘Titanic gone down.’ We are rescuing passengers and are surrounded by icebergs.”
“This is time to be up and doing. Going on deck we found boats at our side crowded with those rescued plus other boats coming from all quarters, just beyond and on all sides of us… were the ‘bergs’.”
Fenwick went on to say that the ship took around 700 people from 19 lifeboats, 14 of which were hauled up onto the decks and the other five set adrift after the people were taken out. He then went on to speak about the Californian and another ship, the SS Birma, which passed close to the Carpathia.
“A number of pictures were taken of rescued boats as they neared the ship also iceberg, ships that passed and Mr Beesley”.
Almost 1,500 passengers of the Titanic perished on that fatal day in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Sea after the ship struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage, sinking in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. Only 705 people survived the Titanic disaster to tell the tale.
— SICK CHIRPSE (@SickChirpse) October 13, 2015
As reported on the Inquisitr, a menu from the last lunch enjoyed by passengers in first class on the Titanic was sold last month in an online auction for $88,000. There was also a ticket for the ship’s “weighing machine,” which fetched $11,000. Both items went for far above the estimated bidding price.
[Image: Painting of Titanic via Wikipedia Commons in the Public Domain – Pilot biscuit courtesy Henry Aldridge & Son]