Man makes £21k profit on antique wine bottle he thought was fake

A man who bought what he thought was a fake 17th century wine bottle in order to stop others being conned into buying it was shocked when it proved to be genuine, making him a tidy profit of £21,470.

Image: BBR auctions

As reported by the Express, Steve Williams, an antique collector and Network Rail engineer, spotted the brown glass bottle at Doncaster Antiques Fair and was convinced it was a fake.

He bought the bottle for £30 and took to Facebook to let his followers know what he’d done. However, Alan Blakeman of BBR auctions in South Yorkshire spotted the picture of the bottle and asked for a closer look.

Blakeman confirmed that the bottle was indeed genuine and the bottle sold at auction over the weekend of 7-8 July for a whopping £18,000. With auction fees added on, the buyer ended up paying £21,500 meaning that Williams technically made a profit of £21,470, although presumably a proportion of the additional cost will go to the auction house.

Blackman commented: “Over the last 30 years or so the bottle collecting world has suffered some bad attempts at producing fake reproductions that con people into paying hundreds of pounds for them.

“After seeing the precious bottle at an antique fair, the stall holder told Steve that he had bought it about 10 years prior for £30 as a fake, stating that “as long as he got his money back on it he would be happy”.

“Steve bought it to take it out of circulation as a good deed. He would have just put it in his garden shed.

“He posted pictures on Facebook of it and I was straight onto him and asked him to let me have a look at it.

“Straight away when we saw it we said ‘there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it.

The bottle is stamped with the initials GR and the date 1682.

Williams’ bottle is not the only such item to have done well at auction recently.

Two melted bottles of Gordon’s Gin, part of the ‘Reclining Drunk’ series by the British artists Gilbert & George, sold in May this year for AU$6,600 each as part of a sale of a collection of works owned by the late art dealer Ray Hughes.

Another bottle with a tale to tell turned up in Australia. Thought to date from the nineteenth century and to have once contained Dutch gin, the bottle, which contained a scrolled note, dated 12 June 1886, was found by an Australian family on a remote beach on Wedge Island earlier this year.

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