A magnum of wine believed to have been personally commissioned by Adolph Hitler and bearing the Nazi leader's face on its label has been auctioned for more than £1,500.
The 1.5-litre bottle fetched a hammer price of £1,540, Scotland-based auction house McTear’s confirmed to Decanter.com.
It appears buyers were not perturbed by the wine’s association with a perpetrator of some of humankind’s worst known atrocities, although a pre-auction estimate had valued at the bottle at up to £2,000.
Hitler is believed to have ordered a batch of ‘Fuherwein’ to mark his birthday on 20 April in 1943, in the midst of the Second World War. The label depicts the Nazi dictator in full uniform.
Dominic Hughes, whisky and wine specialist at McTear’s, said the wine ‘has been verified by an independent historian and a member of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’.
However, the WSET has refuted this. Having contacted McTear’s to request the name of the expert, a WSET spokesperson said it had no record of any such person being employed or having studied with the organisation. ‘This has nothing at all to do with the WSET,’ the spokesperson said.
It is not fully clear how the bottle made its way out of Hitler’s inner circle.
‘We received the bottle from a gentleman in Hungary,’ said Hughes. ‘The bottle was given to this man’s father, who had been a prisoner of war, by a German soldier when the war ended. This bottle has been in the possession of the owner’s family since then.’
McTear’s was unable to offer any information about the wine’s buyer, other than that he or she is based in Australia.
Some previous attempts to sell wine linked to the Nazis have been criticised. Last year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which campaigns for Jewish human rights and hunts remaining Nazi war criminals, called for a boycott of an Italian company that it said was producing a range of wines with Nazi and fascist labels.
This story was updated at 16:10 UK time on 24/04/2014 to include comment from the WSET and the buyer’s location.
Written by Chris Mercer