Sherry from the Duke of Wellington’s first cellar costs double the expected price


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

The rare object is believed to have been bottled at Apsley House in London’s Hyde Park Corner between 1850 and 1870, when it was home to Duke Arthur Wellesley.

It sold at Dreweatts Fine and Rare Wines and Spirits sale on Thursday for a hammer price of £1,300, with the buyer’s premium of 17.5% taking the full price to £1,527.50 £.

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

Apsley House in London (Philip Toscano/PA)

(PA Archive)

Mark Robertson, Head of Wines at Dreweatts, said: “This wonderful bottle with only two careful owners over the past 170 years has unsurprisingly prompted tenders.

“We hope the new owner enjoys this unique sherry and that as he drinks it he can reflect on all the great historic moments that have passed since it was first bottled for the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House.”

Wellesley received the title 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 made a bid of £40,000 to buy Apsley House.

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

A bottle from the same 1865 collection was tasted in 2020 at Christie’s with the following tasting note: “At over 150 years old, it almost looked like a young Manzanilla in rama.

“On tasting, the 1865 was well balanced, chalky and slightly nutty with a characteristic smokiness.

“Its color and youthful gait made it hard to believe it was bottled when Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States.”


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