Two menus from the Titanic sold for a combined $160,000 at auction.
One of the two was for a first class meal on April 10, 1912, the day the Titanic started its maiden voyage. Richard and Stanley May, fishermen brothers, took the menu as a souvenir after traveling on the Titanic to Queenstown, Ireland, where they left the ship. The menu was passed down through the family and put up for auction on November 24. The menu fetched $102,585.
Andrew Aldridge, one of the auctioneers of Henry Aldridge and Son of Dvizes told the Daily Mail, "There was a lot of interest in the menu from April 10 because it was from the ship itself, it went for a record price for a menu from that date.
The other menu lists the lunch items for a grand luncheon on May 31, 1911, to celebrate the launching of the Titanic. The grand luncheon was hosted by shipbuilders Harland and Wolff at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Only 69 people attended the luncheon and very few menus from the lunch survived. The menu at auction was kept by one of the luncheon guests. The luncheon menu was for sale at the same auction as the other menu and fetched $50,774. The menu was sold to a UK collector. The auction was immensely popular and had several international phone and internet bidders.
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The two menus give a glimpse into what first class passengers on the Titanic would have eaten. Aldridge said, “People who would have eaten from it would have been the cream of the cream, first class aristocrats and the most A list passengers on the Titanic.”
First class passengers had many options for lunch on board the Titanic. To start, they could choose from consomme jardiniere, beef steak, kidney pie, and roast surrey capon. Grill options included grilled mutton chops, mashed, fried and baked jacket potatoes, and apples Manhattan. The buffet boasted a wide range of items. Fresh lobsters, potted shrimps, soused herring, sardines, roast beef, and bologna sausage. The list continued to include brawn, galantine of chicken, and corned ox tongue. Passengers were invited to finish their meal with a selection of cheese from cheshire, stilton, gorgonzola, edam, camembert, roquefort, and St. Ivel.
The menu was meant to make a good first impressions. Aldridge said about it, “It would have been their first meal on board the ship just after it set sail, they would have gone to their rooms, dropped off their bags, and gone to the first class restaurant.”
Lunch at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast was even more lavish. Guests dined on foie gras, lamb, roast beef, and champagne.