21/02/2012 06:00 GMT | Updated 21/02/2012 06:04 GMT

Titanic Lunch Menu Expected To Make £100,000 At Auction

A menu for the last lunch served on board the stricken Titanic is expected to fetch up to £100,000 when it goes under the hammer.

A menu, dated April 14 1912, shows the luxury food offered up to first-class passengers on the last day on board the ship.

Over several courses, and with 40 options on offer, the cream of Edwardian society were served a choice of such dishes as eggs Argenteuil, consomme fermier, chicken a la Maryland, galantine of chicken or grilled mutton chops.

The menu was on the table of first-class passenger Dr Washington Dodge, a prominent banker from San Francisco, who was travelling to America with his wife, Ruth, and son, Washington Junior.

Dodge slipped the menu into her handbag before carrying on with her day - unaware of what was to come.

Dodge and her son survived the tragedy after being ushered on to a lifeboat and the menu, which had remained in her bag, has stayed with the family ever since.

The sale is being held by Henry Aldridge & Son - the world's leading auctioneers of Titanic memorabilia - to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic on March 31.

"The sale will be 100 years to the day after Titanic was finished at Harland and Wolff," spokesman Andrew Aldridge said.

"The star of the auction is one of the rarest items of Titanic memorabilia to be sold in recent years.

"Any menu from the Titanic is highly prized but collectors will be offered the opportunity of a lifetime when a first-class menu from the last lunch ever held on board the Titanic goes under the auctioneer's hammer.

"The menu carries the all-important date of April 14 and gives the reader a fascinating insight into the culinary life of Titanic's elite passengers.

"This remarkable relic from one of the most infamous nights of the 20th century carries a pre-sale estimate of £60,000 to £100,000."

RMS Titanic left Belfast on April 2 1912 - the start of a journey which ended in tragedy in the cold North Atlantic on April 14 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

Dr Dodge was saved from the sinking vessel by steward Frederick Dent Ray, who had served the family on a previous crossing and pushed him on to the 13th lifeboat, full of children, saying he needed his help in caring for the youngsters.

"Shortly after arriving in New York aboard the rescue ship Carpathia, Dr Dodge was interviewed and gave his account of the last hours of the ship," Mr Aldridge said.

Dr Dodge said in interview: "The passengers were constantly being assured that there was no danger, but that as a matter of extra precaution the women and children should be placed in the lifeboats.

"Everything was still quiet and orderly when I placed Mrs Dodge and the boy in the fourth or fifth boat.

"I did what I could to help in keeping order, as after the sixth or seventh boat was launched the excitement began.

"Some of the passengers fought with such desperation to get into the lifeboats that the officers shot them, and their bodies fell into the ocean.

"I have learned since that 12 of the steerage passengers were shot altogether, one officer shooting down six.

"The first-cabin men and women behaved with great heroism."

Dodge is said to have added: "I will never forget the awful scene of the great steamer as we drew away."

The auction will take place at Henry Aldridge & Son's saleroom in Devizes, Wiltshire.