Two bottles of vintage port dating back nearly 150 years sparked an intensive bidding war at an Etwall auction before being sold for £770.
The bottles of the 146-year-old vintage port, dating back to 1871 and thought to be among the oldest of its kind in the world, went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers. Their original estimate was £70-£100 per bottle but they eventually sold for £370 and £400 each.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: "The opportunity to own something unusual and rare always sparks strong interest, so I'm not at all surprised these two bottles of splendid vintage port smashed their original estimates."
The firm's fine wines and spirits valuer John Keightley was privileged to taste the 146-year-old drink, which has come from the cellar of the Manor House in Bredon, Gloucestershire.
He said: "It was a real honour to try this port. It is the oldest drink I have ever tasted. To think, this port was made when Queen Victoria was on the throne. It was the year she opened London's Albert Hall in fact, and the British prime minister at the time was William Gladstone.
"The port was extremely pleasant as the drink famously improves with age. It resembled a tawny port. In days gone by, port was used as a healing agent. British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger was given port for gout as a boy.
"He began at the age of 14 in 1773 with a bottle a day but, as we all now know, heavy alcohol consumption is known to exacerbate gout.
"I have heard of the occasional bottle of very old port being in existence. In 2015, Cockburns shared port from the 1860s with VIP guests to mark its 200 anniversary. But at the time, I understand that they only had a bottle or two left in their cellars.
"To find such a vintage still in existence in a county house cellar is remarkable, though it is still possible to buy Madeira port from the 1850s and vintages ports from, for example, the 1970s but, as you would expect, they are expensive."
Port is produced in the Douro region of Portugal, the third oldest protected wine region in the world.
The drink became popular in England in the early 1700s thanks to a forward-thinking Liverpool wine merchant. In 1678, he sent two representatives to Portugal to learn the wine trade. They were treated to a "very agreeable, sweetish and extremely smooth wine" and were so impressed they purchased all the port and shipped it home.
Port is produced from grapes which are fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente to stop the fermentation. The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies.
The 146-year-old port was sold at Hansons' Wines, Whisky and Spirits auction on Monday, September 25. To find out more, call Hansons Auctioneers on 01283 733988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org