Many people will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE), when the second world war in Europe ceased, on Friday 8th May with a beer. Although this year’s celebrations might be rather more muted than planned because of the coronavirus restrictions.

As many of you may already know, Ken Payne, independent valuer for 1818 Auctioneers, has a special interest in collectables and alcohol. He’s the man behind the catalogued lots in our whisky, spirits and alcohol section of the Collectors’ Auctions.

Ken has a bottle of John Smiths of Tadcaster, Victory 1945 Ale in his personal collection. This is an original bottle, not an anniversary replica. Sadly, the beer inside the bottle is totally undrinkable as it is now looking like the black lagoon and is full of sediment. It is a small ‘nip’ size or half bottle with a metal cap and a plain label which is typical of war-time austerity paper. The label says ‘Victory 1945’ John Smiths Tadcaster Brewery Co Ltd. This could be the only bottle in existence and it is a remarkable survivor as most bottles would have been drunk during the widespread celebrations to mark the end of wartime.

The bottle’s value is probably very low because beer as a collectable does not make high prices compared to wines and spirits. However, it might be of more interest to military collectors, especially those with World War Two collections.

Ken is really interested to hear if anyone else has a similar bottle or a beer from another brewery that celebrates VE Day. He is also able to value your collections of wines, whiskies and other spirits, once 1818 Auctioneers re-open again. You might be surprised at the value of those forgotten bottles in your cellar or cupboard.

Just as VE day marked a major transition in people’s lives after the stressful times of war, we hope that you can look forward to better times ahead.