Eleven green bottles sitting on a wall...

It's common knowledge that wine, if made a certain way at a certain time and well-preserved can be very valuable.

Regular readers will know that certain vintages can be worth thousands of pounds or dollars, and that red wine has performed better as an investment than the stock market in the last decade.

So often collectors never open their bottles. On the other hand there are those, like Serena Sutcliffe of Sotheby's who remind us that the real value of a bottle of wine comes when you pull the cork.

She wouldn't, of course, think that the value came after you'd emptied the wine out.

But that is exactly what Veronica Smith discovered, following her clearing of relative Christopher Cowlard's house. Trying to make sense of all letters, paintings and jewellery in the attic, she took a moment to put 11 bottles on the window sill ready for the recycling box.

Valuable wine bottles
Christopher Cowlard's valuable wine bottles

Luckily an auctioneer who had come round to make a probate valuation spotted them, and encouraged Ms Smith to sell them at Woolley and Wallis. Last week, the two lots of bottles sold for £3,000 and £1,600.

Clare Durham from the auctioneer explained: "One of the bottles is dated 1788 and the others are from the 18th and early 19th century.

"The bottle market is strong at the moment and there is always interest in sealed bottles with monograms or initials on them.

"Many of the bottles were Cornish which is also popular."



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