£4,000 for a single bottle of Hitler's birthday wine

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The Independent Online

A fierce bidding war erupted yesterday over a rare bottle of 1943 Führerwein featuring a portrait of Adolf Hitler on the label. The bottle, with a predicted auction price of £500, finally sold to an anonymous buyer for almost £4,000.

It came from a batch given to German officers during the Second World War. But, rather like the Nazi dream of a 1,000-year reich, the wine has spectacularly failed to stand the test of time and is undrinkable.

A spokeswoman for Plymouth Auction Rooms said competition for the bottle was "vigorous" in the room as six telephone lines buzzed with bids. "We understand that these bottles were given out to Hitler's top-ranking officers on his birthday," commented auctioneer Paul Keen. "I have never seen or heard about anything like this in my 20 years as an auctioneer. This is extremely rare."

The sale price of the wine shows the enduring appeal of Nazi wartime memorabilia among collectors.