First class Titanic menu from ship's last lunch sells for $121,785

A first class menu from the last lunch ever eaten aboard the Titanic has sold for £76,000 at auction.

The menu, which offered a range of delicacies including chicken a la Maryland, was carried off the ship by one of the survivors in her handbag.

Ruth Dodge was lucky in that not only did she survive but her husband did too, despite the "women and children first" policy.

The item sold for comfortably within its £60,000-100,000 estimate at the March 31 auction in Devizes, Wiltshire.

The menu achieved 172.8% more than the third class menu rescued by Sarah Roth, which was sold for $44,650 (£27,850) in 2005 at Bonhams. That works out as a 15.83% pa rise.

First class Titanic menu
A fateful artefact: Titanic’s last lunch menu has sold for £76,000

"It's a fascinating snapshot of life on board as a first-class passenger," auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told the BBC.

"What we have to consider is that the Titanic was regarded as the finest restaurant afloat and this does illustrate that point. There are over 40 different options for one lunch."

A set of keys for Titanic's store of lanterns, employed on the ship's lifeboats, achieved £59,000 at the same sale. They sold to an American collector, according to the BBC.

5,500 artefacts from the ship are being auctioned in a single lot in the US, with bidding closing today (April 2).

The items, which include a large section of the ship's hull, are estimated to achieve in the region of $189m, but could achieve much more considering the excitement generated by the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, on April 15.

A two-page handwritten letter written aboard RMS Titanic achieved $40,700 at a New York auction house last month.

The letter, written by 37-year-old assistant surgeon John Edward Simpson, was purchased by Irish museum Titanic Belfast.

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