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    R. M. S. Titanic: A Remarkable Final Dinner Menu from the Night the Ship Famously Struck the Fatal Iceberg. Early in the morning of April 15, 1912, the "unsinkable" Titanic went to her watery grave, taking with her some 1500 of her passengers and crew. But the evening before was festive as first class passengers dined from a menu which featured oysters, filet mignon, roast duckling, squab and other delicacies, topped off with desserts such as Waldorf pudding or peaches in chartreuse jelly. After an undoubtedly convivial meal the five salesmen who shared a table each signed this menu adding their addresses perhaps for business or friendly correspondence once they had disembarked. Another notation was added, "1960 miles out," which may have been the menu holder's wager as to the evening report of the ship's journey. The first class passengers at the table were: Edward P. Calderhead of New York City; Spencer V. Silverthorne of St. Louis; George E. Graham, a sales manager from Winnipeg, Canada; James R. McGough, a buyer from Philadelphia; and John Irwin Flynn of Brooklyn. Flynn, McGough and Calderhead all worked as buyers for Gimbel's department store. The Titanic only carried enough lifeboats for about half of those onboard, however-not surprisingly-the first class passengers were largely the first to obtain places. Accordingly, four of the five men at the table survived, with only Graham going down with the ship.

    The sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage produced a mood of mourning unseen since Custer's command was massacred at Little Big Horn, and the memory of the disaster has been kept alive through film and song. This evocative story has inspired a passionate interest in Titanic relics and memorabilia among collectors. On the rare occasions when important pieces have come to auction, prices have been stratospheric. In 2012 an April 12 dinner menu with significant condition issues fetched $31,250. That same year a lunch menu from the first day of the voyage sold for 64,000 British pounds in a Wiltshire, England auction. The same firm auctioned a dinner menu from the first day out for 46,000 pounds. What we believe to be the highest price achieved by a Titanic menu at auction took place in August 2014, when an April 14 second class lunch menu brought just under $125,000. Our research failed to disclose the sale of any menu from the ship's "last supper," or any other signed menus. Also, many of the other menus to appear at auction seem to have consisted of a single card which either lacked or never had the beautiful cover present on the example offered here. This might show the extent of condition issues for other auctioned examples, but likely only illustrates how much grander and more refined the first-class dinners were-even compared to the same day's luncheon.

    The Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on the evening of the 14th. Given the penchant for late dining among the privileged classes of that era, it seems plausible-even likely-that these gentlemen were still at their table when the initial collision occurred, as some time passed before the passengers became aware of what had happened. It is easy to imagine one of the four surviving men slipping this menu into his jacket pocket as he made his way to the lifeboats. Surely this amazing menu must be considered one of the most poignant of all surviving Titanic relics.

    It measures 4.25" x 5.75" (4.25" x 11.5" when folded open) and is in excellent overall condition, with just a touch of age browning.




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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 8,155

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