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Forbes Malcolm

The American publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) is a collector of curiosities; including old wines. He paid with one of Christie's held on December 5, 1985 auction for a bottle Château Lafite-Rothschild Born in 1787 was an incredible £ 105,000 ($ 160,000). It therefore counts to absolute most expensive wine in the world, The seller was the German wine collector Hardy Rodenstock (1941-2018). According to his story, this bottle was together with eleven other wineries and vintages, as well as other very old wines from Chateau Margaux. Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château d'Yquem discovered in the wall of a cellar in Paris. However, he never mentioned the name of the finder or the address of the site. Experts from the auction house had previously confirmed after assessments that glass and engraving actually date from the 18th century. Rodenstock later always relied on this fact (although these facts are not clear proof of the authenticity of the wine contained therein).

The dark green glass bottle was sealed with a cork sealed with thick black wax. The letters "Th.J.", the year "1787" and "Lafitte" (sic - at that time the name was still written with two "t") were incised into the glass on the belly part. According to the initials, it was (perhaps) formerly owned by the third US President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). At the time, he was the US ambassador to Paris and a great lover of French wines. It was concluded that he had forgotten to take the bottles with him when he returned to the United States. The one from the famous degustator Michael Broadbent guided auction started at £ 10,000, which increased to £ 105,000 in just two minutes. The highest bidder was Christopher Forbes, the son of Malcolm Forbes.

Forbes had a private museum adapted in New York, where, among other things, he had the entire Oval Office from the founding days of the US Republic set up specifically for the Jefferson era. The original Jefferson dining table was also on display there, and Forbes is said to have said, “That old bottle with the initials Th.J. would make quite apart from it ” . He also said: “This bottle is more fun than the opera watcher Abraham Lincoln held when he was shot. And we have it too ” . The filling level was extremely tall for a bottle of that age, just half an inch below the cork. Tragically, however, it was exhibited in this museum under glaring, hot light. The cork crumbled and the precious content spoiled in a short time. The wine would never have been drunk as a pure prestige object anyway. Other billionaire 1787 bottles were later purchased by the billionaire William Koch. As a result, there were falsification charges, processes and comparisons, see the detailed story under Hardy Rodenstock,

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