Sherry from first Duke of Wellington’s cellar goes for double expected price

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Mark Robertson, head of wine at Dreweatts, where a 170-year-old bottle of sherry from the home of the first Duke of Wellington sold for £1,527.50 (Zoltan Miklosi/Dreweatts/PA)
Mark Robertson, head of wine at Dreweatts, where a 170-year-old bottle of sherry from the home of the first Duke of Wellington sold for £1,527.50 (Zoltan Miklosi/Dreweatts/PA)

A 170-year-old bottle of sherry from the home of the first Duke of Wellington has exceeded its estimated sale price after selling for £1,527.50 at auction.

The rare item is believed to have been bottled at Apsley House at Hyde Park Corner in central London between 1850 and 1870, when it was home to the duke, Arthur Wellesley.

It sold to a UK buyer during Dreweatts’ Fine And Rare Wine And Spirits sale on Thursday for a hammer price of £1,300, with the buyer’s premium of 17.5% increasing the total price to £1,527.50.

This was more than double the auction house’s upper estimate of £700.

The bottle of sherry from the home of the first Duke of Wellington (Dreweatts/PA) (PA Media)
The bottle of sherry from the home of the first Duke of Wellington (Dreweatts/PA) (PA Media)

Mark Robertson, head of wine at Dreweatts, 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.”

Wellesley was given the title of the Duke of Wellington after playing a key role in defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and ending the Napoleonic Wars.

As a reward for his military success, Parliament gave him £700,000 to build a new “Waterloo Palace” but, instead of constructing a new building, he put in a £40,000 bid to buy Apsley House.

The sherry was purchased in 1977 at a Christie’s sale of wines from the property and has been stored in a Hampshire cellar since.

Apsley House in London (Philip Toscano/PA) (PA Archive)
Apsley House in London (Philip Toscano/PA) (PA Archive)

A bottle from the same collection from 1865 was tasted in 2020 at Christie’s with the tasting note reading: “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.”

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