Two bottles of French champagne that were confiscated by the Nazis during the second world war and then liberated by a British RAF member will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers' three-day auction that runs 20-22 June in the UK.
Despite their fascinating history, the bottles are valued at a combined £100-150 ($151-227). The original labels have been re-stamped in red, reading in German and French:
"Wehrmachts - Marketenderware Verkauf in Freien Handel verboten (Army - Sales in the Free Market are Prohibited)," and "Reserve à la Wehrmacht, Achat et Revente interdits (Reserved for
German Army - Not for Resale or Purchase)".
Following their occupation of France in 1940, the Nazi party built up huge reserves of wine and champagne for the troops, consuming the precious tipples in vast quantities. They even set up a permanent office at Reims to control production.
"It is remarkable that these two bottles of bubbly still exist considering the unquenchable thirst the Nazi forces seemed to have for fine French champagne," commented Hansons' Elizabeth Bailey.
The so-called "victory vintage" of 1945 is perhaps the most celebrated in wine-making history, and has been described as one of the "immortal wines of the century" by wine critic Robert Parker. A case of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild's 1945 offering sold for $28,750 in 2006.