Titanic Menu and Painting on Antiques Roadshow


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James Bradley

Guest
I am not going to believe what the Roadshow "expert" had to say about the menu on the back of the painting appraised last year. Apparently, according to this "expert" the Titanic's menus were printed "onboard the ship."

When did the Titanic have printing presses? When did the chefs just decide, enroute, what they wanted to prepare that night? If they wanted more deck space and so asked for fewer lifeboats, why would they accept printing presses? Tell me, am I mistaken in this? Were there printing presses and did the chefs just make up the menu enroute? Surely not.

Can anyone tell me if it has been determined that this menu is a fake attatched to the back of some cheap paintng and sold as an original (for $25.00) by the British shop owner in the 1970s? Did you know that a couple bought it for $75,000 recently? It was appraised on the Roadshow for only $50,000. Surely this must be some terrible, unfortunate mistake?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I can't answer your question about printing shops offhand, but as to menus being offered, I would be very careful about them. Reproductions which are sold as the genuine artical are a dime a dozen. There was an article in an issue of the Commutator last year dealing with this very problem. As they say, "Let the buyer beware!"

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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Where's Pat Cook when we need him? If I'm not mistaken, what you are talking about has a connection to passengers who were on the Carpathia, and the material is very legit, even if the appraiser had a few facts incorrect. Seems to me there was a Beesley connection, which is how Pat got involved. If this is the same thing I'm thinking of, the owners didn't actually sell it -- they just put it on the Antique Roadshow to determine its value for insurance purposes.
 
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There is a shop in Conway, North Wales which turns them out by the dozen! We have contacted the trading standards authorities for the area who have investigated and say that they are unable to take action as they are relatively inexpensive and the shop keeper does not advertise them as being genuine. It is the ideal location - a dusty looking second hand/curio shop, where customers think that they have found a bargain that nobody else has spotted.

Where's Pat Cook indeed! Probably "a little out of it all" after taking all that "medicine" for his cough!
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 26, 2000
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(cough -cough!) Eh? Somebody call my name? I can see clearly now, the rain is gone (everybody sing!)

Actually, while I cannot add anything to the subject of printing aboard the Titanic, some menus were legit. Not so, the one on the "Antiques Roadshow", however. I can't recall where I heard this but it was later found to be a '62 copy rather than the bonafide article.

This, however, was a different 'lot' on the "Roadshow' from the Fenwick appraisal. Mary Lou Fenwick (daughter-in-law of Carpathia passengers James and Mabel Fenwick), while the show was in Baltimore, brought in her 'scrapbook' of photos that her in-laws took of the Titanic survivors, icebergs, etc. She also had a hand written letter from Lawrence Beesley, thanking them for their photo of him, Hilda Slayter and another woman (possibly Fanny Kelly) on the Carpathia. Mary Lou had even kept the 'biscuit' retrieved from a lifeboat. Her lot was apprasied at approx. $75,000 (if memory serves).

Hope this is of some help.

Best regards,
Cook
 

Dave Hudson

Member
Apr 25, 2001
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About printing menus;

There was a printer's shop on D Deck on the port side just aft of the 1st Class Dining Saloon. I also know of at least one printer who was aboard.

Menus, wine lists, concert programs, invitations, and I believe passenger lists were all printed on board.

I'm sure that the menus were planned in advance, but there might be some last minute changes (maybe the train carryining the salmon missed the ship, or perhaps the squab had gone bad). This would require a quick alteration in the menu. Also, the dishes weren't the same for each crossing.

To have all written material printed on shore would require a printing press on both sides of the Atlantic. This was not cost effective.

"If they wanted more deck space and so asked for fewer lifeboats, why would they accept printing presses?"

For the same reason that there were too few boats: absolute luxury and the promise of technology. The Titanic was to be the last word in the progress of man, and that meant automatic watertight doors, a swimming pool, 4 elevators, a 24 hour wireless, and an onboard printing press. It also meant that she was so technologically perfect that lifeboats were merely formalities and were never to be used.

David
 
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Cook, Do you think that Mary Lou would part with that biscuit? Only my diet is just killing me and that biscuit sounds like heaven!
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 26, 2000
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Ah, Geoff, I'm sure she'd probably let it go for around $20,000. However, for that price make sure you get a cup a'tea with it - I'm guessing it's pretty stale by now.

And, please, let's not talk about diets! I'm trying to stick to mine...honest, I am. But I don't think it's working. I was sitting out in the yard yesterday and 6 dogs were lying in my shade.
 
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Cook - Hot Dogs eh! How many are left now? I know just how you feel, my colleague Steve Rigby and I recently went for a meal at one of those Indian restaurants (where they sit you in little booths with about an eighth of an inch between the table and your stomach. We had to take it in turns to stand up and swallow!
 
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James Bradley

Guest
I stand corrected. I feel embarrasses too. I found the printer's shop on E deck and the name of the two printer's assigned to it. Are there any pics of this place? I can't believe I never noticed it before... and it is such a large space technically speaking. I really am ashamed. HOWEVER, I still believe the menu featured is a FAKE. That I will never be disuaded on.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi James, if any pictures were taken, they either haven't survived or they haven't come to light. There may be one or several in a private collection. My bet is that it's likelier that one exists of the Olympic as this ship was extensively photographed.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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anca nickelson

Guest
hello,about the menu they say was bought from a family member of an titanic survivor and it was sold at an auction in texas for the amount of 77,000$ dollars but this is what i saw on tv i don't know for sure it was true but let me know what you think,a lot of money for that. have a good day,anca
 

Steve Santini

Member
Nov 22, 2000
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Hi All,
The "authentic" menu seen on the Antiques Roadshow was the one that later sold in the USA for the sum of $77,000.00 USD. It was indeed bogus and totally fake. I had to shake my head in wonder when I saw it appear on the Roadshow. The "expert" doing the appraising went on a great length about how he was a Titanic researcher for many years and also a member of THS and because of this he knew what he was looking at and had the skill to authenticate the menu. That man should be ashamed of himself! So what if someone is a member of any Titanic society? That in NO WAY qualifies them to authenticate ANYTHING. This guy should be fired as a Roadshow appraiser. Because of his "skill" with Titanic collectables, some poor soul later spent a ton of money for a worthless piece of garbage. Some folks just don't know about what they are buying I guess. Just so none here run into a bargain Titanic menu and are taken in, here are some little tips about the originals which do not appear on any of the current or past reproductions out there (yet thank gosh): Original Titanic 1st class menus are 6 1/4 inches high by 4 1/4 wide. The relpicas are much larger in size. Original Titanic 1st class menus have rounded corners. The replicas do not. Original Titanic 1st class menus have gilded edges. The replicas do not. On original Titanic 1st class menus, the WSL flag logo as well as the OSNC logo are embossed. That is, they were pressed into the stock of the menu from the rear, producing a raised relief image in the front, or face, of the menu. If you run your finger over either the flag or the OSNC logo, you will feel they are raised. On the repros the flag and OSNC logo are simply printed and are not embossed or raised. Original Titanic 1st class menus were printed on a light "off white" or cream/buff white colour card stock. The replicas are printed on a lighter heavy paper ,(light card stock), and the colour of the stock is slightly more yellowish in colour, unlike the originals. Hopefully this information may help some future unsuspecting buyer from shelling out some serious big bucks on the next "find of the century". Best regards, Steve Santini
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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"If they wanted more deck space and so asked for fewer lifeboats, why would they accept printing presses?" They did not want to clutter the deck, furthermore, she was 'unsinkable'. By the way, they would not have put the printing press/machine on the boat deck right? Likewise, they would not store the boats down in D deck.
 
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Susan Leighton

Guest
I know this is an old thread, but I didn't want to start a new one. The Roadshow is doing a 'best of' sort of thing and they are playing a portion of the show that "includes a luncheon menu from Titanic". Wasn't this de-bunked several years ago. They are also promoting the special on their website. According to my DISH listing the show will air on SAT (5/21) at 1:00pm, 3:00pm, and 7:00pm on PBS. I would be very interested if anybody here has seen this special. It's been running all month at ungodly hours for me, so I keep missing it. But I am going to try to watch it Saturday. Please let me know if anybody else watches it and whether it is a legit appraisal.
 
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I saw that when it first aired, and saw it this past monday night- I was surprised that they included it in their "best of" show- If they put that in there they should have also included the "fake" appraisal of the $50,000 Confederate Civil War Sword by those crooks George Juno and Russ Pritchard LOL!

The Menu was de-bunked- see the earlier post above by Steve Santini and some others here.
Darren
 
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Susan Leighton

Guest
Well, those appraisers are a might uppity and perhaps they are in denial about that Titanic menu and are just trying to save face. It's not working! If anything, it lessons their credibility when they get something right. I've 'toured' their website, and they are ALL about showmanship and the look on the faces of the astonished collector when they 'reveal' the value of their item. It's great TV.
 
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Susan Leighton

Guest
I just watched that 'Roadshow" special and they had an old man crying over the value of his vase, or something, I don't remember the item.

Sure enough though they repeated the appraisal of the Titanic menu. The appraiser started off by asking the man where he got this ugly oil painting of Titanic. The owner mumbled something about Southampton and a nameless surviving crew member. Then the appraiser turns the 'ugly oil painting' around and on the reverse, we see the 'intact luncheon menu' from the last day of the voyage...surprise...it was dated April 14, 1912. With no real information about the origins of the piece, the appraiser announces in all his glory that this menu is authentic and is valued at $75,000 - $100,000. Thrilling the viewers and astonishing the owner of the 'ugly oil painting'
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>With no real information about the origins of the piece, the appraiser announces in all his glory that this menu is authentic and is valued at $75,000 - $100,000. Thrilling the viewers and astonishing the owner of the 'ugly oil painting'<<

Ach! High drama. You gotta love it when values are appraised based on that rather then any verifiable provanance of the article in question. I guess if I ever catch this show, I'll have to have my "Skeptic's Radar" on to full power.
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,
I think I recall watching that and wondering where all the outgassing stains/age toning were that should have been on any paper item framed in a wood sulfur rich environment for so long - I seem to remember a lot of brown paper as the backing?

Best,
Eric
 

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