Reprinted from Time.com:
On Dec. 5, 1985, Christopher Forbes, vice chairman of Forbes magazine, shelled out $157,000 for a bottle of wine at a Christie's auction in London — still the largest sum on record ever paid for a single bottle. Its body handblown from deep green glass, sealed with a wad of dark wax and inscribed with "Th.J.," the 1787 Château Lafite was thought to come from a collection of wines belonging to Thomas Jefferson. "It's more fun than the opera glasses Lincoln was holding when he was shot," Forbes declared at the time. "And we have those too." Though Jefferson was born on the Virginia frontier, he served as the U.S.'s minister to France in the late 18th century and is regarded as America's first true oenophile. Regardless, the trove of wines the bottle came from, discovered in an old building in Paris, are now almost universally believed to have been fakes. Upon further investigation, it seems that the Founding Father's initials were etched into the bottles using a power tool.Too bad that asshole didn't use Lincoln's opera glasses to discover he was about to drop $157,000 on a marginally-clever forgery, eh?
Although it probably doesn't matter in the end, since he has been squeezing at least that much money out of the middle class every day of his life and it probably still tasted really good when he opened for his prized pony's fourth birthday party.
The plot thickens:
Remember those two billionaire assholes who fund all the Tea Party bullshit? Well, their brother, Bill, was also taken in by the same scheme.
How thorough were Forbes and Koch, wealthy investors by birthright, at doing their due diligence?
When a cache of more than a dozen bottles engraved 'Th.J.' reportedly came to light in 1985, [German collector Hardy] Rodenstock said they had been found in a walled-up cellar in Paris, where Jefferson served as minister to France. Jefferson, who helped draft America's Declaration of Independence, became the country's third President.Sounds like everything checked out fine, there should definitely be no blame placed on the stupid greedy buyers who overpaid for a stupid trophy whose existence nobody could prove. I hope they get their day in court and spend even more money on lawyers.
The exact quantity of wine reportedly found, and the precise location of the cache, have never been established. Rodenstock told decanter.com that in 1985 he was told of the find, and flew to Paris to see the bottles, which he was told he must pay cash for. He will not say who called him, and says that he did not go to the actual house.