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140-year-old arctic beer sells for £3k

An unopened bottle of beer discovered in a garage, originally brewed for an expedition to the Arctic in 1875, has sold for more than five times its estimate at auction.

The bottle of Allsopp’s Arctic Ale, which was discovered in a box in a garage in Gobowen, Shropshire, had been commissioned to accompany an expedition to the north pole, led by Sir George Nares in 1875.

The attempt was unsuccessful, however the crew was able to map the coastlines of Greenland and Ellesmere Island, earning Nares the title of the first explorer to navigate through both land masses. The channel was later named Nares Strait in his honour.

Brewed in Burton-upon-Trent, the bottle was expected to reach £600 at the auction at Trevanion & Dean in Whitchurch, however it surpassed expectations by selling for £3,300.

The winning offer came from a telephone bidder in Scotland.

Aaron Dean, a partner at the auctioneers, said: “The internet went bonkers when the item came up. There were three bidders in the room and there were people on the telephone too.

“It was a great historical object. We have all seen empty bottles from the 19th Century but this bottle went all the way to the Arctic circle and came all the way back.

“How many more of those will we see? Not many. There are many collectors when it comes to exploration and this fitted into that. It was historically fun.”

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