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Beer

140-year old beer made for Arctic expedition sells at auction for $5000

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This 140-year-old bottle of ale just sold at auction for over $5000. (Trevonian and Dean)

An un-opened 140-year-old bottle of beer brewed for an Arctic expedition has been sold for $5,131 at auction.

According to the BBC, the beer, called Allsopp's Arctic Ale, was brewed in Staffordshire, England for a North Pole expedition led by explorer Sir George Nares in 1875. Surprisingly, it was recently discovered in a box in a garage in the county of Shropshire, England.

The British Arctic Expedition of 1875 was an attempt by the British Admiralty to reach the North Pole and included two ships HMS Alert and HMS Discovery under the leadership of Vice-Admiral Sir George Nares (1831-1915), according to the Shropshire Star.

The expedition failed after poor equipment and scurvy forced the explorers to retreat, but it  led to the mapping the coast lines of Greenland and Ellesmere Island.

Auction house Trevanion & Dean only expected the bottle to sell for £600 ($933), but Aaron Dean — a partner at the auction house — tells the BBC that the "Internet went bonkers when the item came up." 

A private collector in Scotland won the bottle after a telephone bid.

Dean said that is a rare item to find at auction: "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." He adds that the collector could drink the beer and that the research he did suggested the ale would be "sweet tasting with a hint of tobacco."

Collectors prize historical exploration items.  

In 2011, a 104-year-old biscuit taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton on his Antarctic expedition in 1907 sold for $1,953 at auction.