Beer Bottle from Hindenburg Disaster, World's Most Expensive

A singed bottle of Lowenbrau recovered from historic inferno could fetch $8,000.

ByABC News
November 10, 2009, 11:11 AM

Nov. 10, 2009— -- A singed bottle of beer recovered from the ashes of the Hindenburg disaster is expected to fetch $4,000 to $8,000 at auction this weekend -- the highest price ever for a bottle of beer.

Though most of the 62-year-old suds remain in the bottle, auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said the contents of the Lowenbrau bottle, discovered by a New Jersey firefighter in 1937 at the site of the airship's historic disaster, are undrinkable.

"It is the most valuable bottle of beer ever sold," said Aldridge of the British auction house Henry Aldridge & Sons. "But you wouldn't like to drink it, let me put it that way. It would taste putrid."

The Hindenburg, an enormous passenger-carrying hydrogen-filled German airship, burst into flames in May 6, 1937, over Lakehurst, N.J., killing 38 people.

The bottle, along with a silver-plated pitcher also discovered by fire Chief Leroy Smith at the scene of the disaster and estimated to fetch $17,000 to $22,000, is part of an auction of Hindenburg memorabilia going under the hammer on Saturday.

Scorch marks on both the bottle and the pitcher bear silent witness to the historic inferno.

"About 20 percent of the beer evaporated from the bottle. Some of the label is still intact and you can make out 'Lowenbrau' and 'Munich.' The label is heavily browned," said Aldridge.

The heat from the fire caused the seams of the pitcher's handle to pop, Aldridge said. The pitcher bears the logo of the Deutsche Zeppelin Reedrei airline that operated the famous Hindenburg.