NEW YORK -- An admission ticket to the launch of the Titanic and a first-class dinner menu for the ocean liner's first night at sea are among dozens of Titanic-related artifacts being auctioned this month, exactly 100 years after the ship struck an iceberg and sank.
The Bonhams auction on April 15 also includes a handwritten account by Arthur Rostron, the captain of the Carpathia, the first ship to arrive on the disaster scene after picking up the Titanic's distress call.
The letter, with a pre-sale estimate of $90,000 to $120,000, offers "a full account and timeline of what happened from the moment the Titanic struck the iceberg to the time the ship sank," Gregg K. Dietrich, Bonhams' maritime art consultant, said Friday.
Nearly all of the 88 documents and objects relate to either the crew or the passengers aboard the ship or to the actual April 15, 1912, disaster.
The Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg the night before during its maiden passage from Southampton, England, to New York.
The VIP launch ticket is dated May 31, 1911, and "is the only known example to have the admittance stub intact," Dietrich said. It is estimated to sell for $50,000 to $70,000.
Also for sale are 35 of the 37 messages from the signal book of the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic.
The first message, from the Titanic to the Olympic, which was 550 miles away, says: Titanic sending out signals of distress ... WE HAVE STRUCK AN ICEBERG." It is expected to bring $25,000-$35,000.
A collection of 20 letters written by survivors of the Titanic is being sold as one lot for an estimated $30,000 to $50,000. They were assembled by Andrew J. Cannata, who in 1969 wrote his high school research paper on the Titanic. He sent out about 30 queries to its living survivors, and got 20 responses.
The letters are from first-, second- and third-class passengers and crew members, "offering various accounts of what happened aboard as the ship was sinking," Dietrich said.
Second-class passenger Lilian W. Bentham wrote that she departed in a lifeboat before the ship went down, and "To this day I can hear the calls for help."
Meanwhile, the dinner menu, estimated to bring $25,000 to $35,000, provides a glimpse into the opulence of the "floating palace." Printed in French and English, the offerings include Surrey capon and ox tongue, filet of duckling, oysters and pineapple royale.