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Monday 25 July 2022

Ancient bottle of sherry sells for over $2,600

A 19th century bottle of sherry found in the cellar of London’s historic Apsley House, former home of the 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), sold at auction last week for £1,527.

The sherry, which dates from 1840, re-emerged from a private collection and proved highly popular in a sale of Fine and Rare Wine and Spirits at Dreweatts, finally selling to a UK buyer.

The rare sherry is believed to have been bottled at Apsley House between 1850-1870, when it was home to Arthur Wellesley, following his being named ‘Duke of Wellington’ in gratitude for his military victories in the Peninsula and Napoleonic wars.

Following his specific success at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, parliament awarded him £700,000 to build a new ‘Waterloo Palace’.

Rather than constructing a new building, he instead put in an anonymous winning bid of £40,000 to buy Apsley House.

The purchase was to help his brother, the then owner of the lease to the house, as he was struggling financially.

Wellington went on to become a leading figure in politics after the battle of Waterloo, becoming Prime Minister in 1828.

The sherry was purchased in 1977 at a Christie's sale of wines from Apsley House and had been stored in a Hampshire cellar ever since.

A bottle from the same collection from 1865 was tasted in 2020 at Christie's and the tasting note was as follows, "At over 150 years of age, it looked almost like a young en rama Manzanilla. On tasting, the 1865 was well-balanced, chalky and lightly nutty with a characteristic smoky edge. Its colour and youthful gait made it hard to believe it was bottled when Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States."

Mark Robertson, Head of Dreweatts Wine Department, said: “This wonderful bottle with only two careful owners in the last 170 years unsurprisingly garnered competitive bidding. We hope the new owner enjoys this unique sherry and whilst drinking can ponder on all the great historical moments that have passed since it was first bottled for the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House.”

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