A couple years ago, I did a story on collecting “white whales” for this here magazine where the first draft, in a graf discussing extreme prices collectors have paid for their beloved thingamajigs, I wrote that a 158-year-old full bottle of Allsopp’s Arctic Ale sold on eBay for over $503,000. After all, that fact is stapled on virtual telephone poles all over the interwebs. But it’s not true. Luckily I did my research before it went to print, which is why the final draft made mention of a scorched bottle of Löwenbräu found in the wreckage of the Hindenburg in 1937 that set an auction winner back over $18,000.
But guess what! That Allsopp’s Arctic Ale bottle—still unopened and still the oldest known bottle of beer—is back on eBay and can be yours for the bargain price of $89,900 (or use the Buy It Now function to secure the winning bid at $155,000, which is still 70 percent off if you believed it had sold for $503K.) Interestingly, a similar if not the exact same bottle was reportedly first sold on eBay for $304 + S&H. Sucker!
Unlike 99.99 percent of the beers being sold on online auctions that claim you’re bidding on collectible glassware and not the alcoholic contents therein, it’s safe to say this bottle won’t end up being cracked open at the next bottle share you attend. Then again, the novella contained in the listing’s description includes tasting notes on an Allsopp’s bottle of ale from 1875.
Given that I recently blogged about a friend who auctioned off his De Dolle Stille Nacht Reserva 2000 on eBay for $710, and other friends just Facebooked the lineup of beers they tore through with an eBay value of $4,000, what beer in the history of commercial brewing would you most want to drink? And how much would it be worth to you?