The tragedy of the sinking of the Lusitania has always overshadowed the grandeur of the ship, but items from the liner which go on auction tomorrow show that five-star treatment was enjoyed by even second-class passengers.
Among the items to be sold by Lynes & Lynes at their auction rooms in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, is a breakfast menu for what was described as Second Cabin passengers.
The fare is formidable, to say the least. On Friday, June 24, 1910 — five years before the sinking — breakfast consisted of oranges and figs with oatmeal porridge and fresh milk, perhaps enough to satisfy the health-conscious today.
However, that was only by way of an overture to a full breakfast symphony that included broiled fresh haddock, pickled ling, boiled or fried eggs, broiled Wiltshire bacon, saute of kidney, grilled rump steak with jacket potatoes, rice cakes and golden syrup.
This was followed by rolls, scones, and cottage loaves with jam and marmalade.
Auctioneer Denis Lynes with the breakfast menu for second-class
passengers on board the Lusitania. which he is auctioning.
“It was a very elaborate menu but not unusual at the time,” says auctioneer Denis Lynes. “That was the case even in second class, or Second Cabin, as it was known. First-class passengers would have had an even more elaborate breakfast menu.”
Mr Lynes expects there to be a lot of interest in the menu which is among items from the Lusitania, including two dinner plates, a commemorative medal, a post card and a silk ribbon that will be on sale.
“The medal was brought out after the sinking and the silk ribbon was what people wore at the launch.
“The postcard was sold after the tragedy to raise money for the families of those affected by it.”
Mr Lynes is used to disposing of matters maritime, among them items that once graced the White Star liner, Celtic which ran aground on the rocks at Roches Point in Cork in 1928.
Constructed by Harland and Wolff and launched in 1901, the Celtic was the largest ship built up until then. Many items from the ship survive in houses around Ireland to this day, some of them in the Long Valley bar in Cork.
“I had a large bookcase from the Celtic,” says Mr Lynes. “It turned up in Macroom. It was from the first-class lounge and was beautifully made, a fabulous piece of furniture. It made €22,000 and went to a collector from Northern Ireland who is a regular customer. That delighted me.”
He has set a modest estimate of €100-€200 for the items from the Lusitania.
“There has been a lot of interest already and I expect to beat that estimate.”
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