Some biscuits are best if eaten with milk and sugar, some of them go well with coffee, but some are soaked in grief and never to be eaten. There is at least one cracker like this, and it has a bitter story to tell.
A crunchy old biscuit that survived the sinking of the Titanic is probably one of the most expensive baked products in the world. It was sold for £15,000 ($23,000) at an auction that was held last week at Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire. The new owner of this cracker is a collector from Greece
This “edible memorabilia” is definitely one of the most unique collectable Titanic items that a person can own. The “Pilot” biscuit was part of a survival kit on one of the lifeboats attached to Titanic. It was made by Spillers and Bakers, a company that usually manufactured dog biscuits (although this one was made for humans). They also made cheap products that were often used as rations in case of emergency or during wars.
The biscuit was saved as a souvenir by James and Mabel Fenwick. They were passengers on the RMS Carpathia, heading to Europe for their honeymoon when the ship was called to aid the Titanic and its survivors. James carefully preserved it in a Kodak film envelope together with a note that said, “Pilot biscuit from Titanic lifeboat April 1912”.
Together with the biscuit there were also photo negatives from the rescue operation. The pictures were made by the couple and are probably the best document that depicts the events that occurred that dreadful day; the arrival of the lifeboats and the survivors embarking on Carpathia. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge estimated that the biscuit will sell for £8,000 – £10,000 and it was actually sold for £5000 more than that.
“We don’t know which lifeboat the biscuit came from, but there are no other Titanic lifeboat biscuits in existence to my knowledge. It is incredible that this biscuit has survived such a dramatic event – the sinking of the world’s largest ocean liner – costing 1,500 lives.”
Another interesting item that was sold on the auction was a photo of the iceberg that supposedly sunk the Titanic. It was sold for £21,000. This picture was taken by the chief steward of a ship called Prinz Albert that passed near the iceberg the day after the tragic event. A handwritten note from the steward accompanies the picture. It says:
One more item that was exhibited on the auction has been sold for a record amount of money. A “loving cup” that was as a present to the courageous captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia, the ship which came to help Titanic’s survivors. It was sold for an amazing £129,000. This cup is officially the third most expensive Titanic item ever sold.
Apparently, the Titanic biscuit is not the only one with the taste of history. According to Andrew Aldridge from Aldridge & Son auctioneers, few years ago, a biscuit from Shackleton’s expeditions was sold for about £3,000.