Auctions | November 11, 2015

Titanic’s Last Menu Tops $1.1+ Million Americana Auction at Heritage Auctions


DALLAS—The only known surviving April 14, 1912 first class dinner menu from the R.M.S. Titanic, saved the very night the ‘unsinkable ship’ slipped beneath the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean, sold for $118,750 in Heritage Auctions $1.1+ millionAmericana & Political Grand Format Auction Nov. 7 in Dallas. The Nov. 7 auction offered a host of rare and one-of-a-kind items including the license plates used on the Presidential limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, which sold for $100,000.

“We pride ourselves on preserving unique items which played a crucial role in the history of our country and the world and this auction was no exception,” said Tom Slater, Director of Americana Auctions at Heritage. “These objects tell the story of the human experience and the rare trove of Titanic objects and the Kennedy limo plates are among the most evocative ever offered at Heritage.”

The remarkable Titanic final dinner menu is signed by first class passengers 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, and is one of three pieces of memorabilia relating to the sinking offered in the auction. An oil painting of the iceberg by rescue ship passenger Laura Wilson Luce of Titusville, Pennsylvania sold for $12,500 and a menu from the R.M.S. Carpathia, the ship which first reached the Titanic following the sinking, sold for $3,125.

Of equal interest to history, the license plates on the Presidential limousine President Kennedy was in when he was assassinated were fatefully saved from the trash 52 years ago by Willard C. Hess, the owner of Hess & Eisenhardt, the company that retrofitted presidential limousines. The plates were purchased by an ardent Kennedy collector who wished to stay anonymous. They were consigned to Heritage by Jane Walker, Hess’s daughter, who kept the license plates for the last half century in a drawer in her Ohio kitchen. While her father was alive, said Walker, he kept them between a pair of books on his bookshelf.

President Kennedy’s 1951 U.S. Passport, issued to him as a Congressman, sold for $52,500 and a 1950s passport issued to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy sold for $45,000. Kennedy’s well-used leather wallet and 1959-61 Massachusetts Driver’s License went for $38,750, against a $20,000 estimate.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

Zachary Taylor: Personally-owned Eyeglasses and Case: Realized: $27,500.

Abraham Lincoln & Andrew Johnson: A Superb 1864 Campaign Flag: Realized: $24,375.

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Personally-owned Stetson Hat: Realized: $22,500.

A substantial lock of hair from President George Washington: Realized: $18,750.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of approximately $900 million, and 950,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

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