Hindenburg beer up for auction
Published 11/11/2009 | 12:17
A fire damaged bottle of beer found in the wreckage of the doomed Hindenburg airship is expected to fetch up to £5,000 at auction.
The Hindenburg disaster on May 6 1937 claimed 36 lives after the LZ 129 airship caught fire.
The Hindenburg, which had 97 passengers on board, was destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, in New Jersey, United States.
The fire-damaged bottle of Lowenbrau Beer was taken from the wreck site by Fire Chief Leroy Smith of the Matawan Fire department, New Jersey.
A litre of the beer was taken on board the Hindenburg but was never opened and most of it was said to have survived the explosion.
Mr Smith found five other bottles which he handed out to each of his colleagues, but the whereabouts of these is unknown.
The bottle being auctioned was presented to the Lowenbrau brewery museum in 1977 and is now sold with correspondence from the brewery in Munich, press cuttings and an account of how Mr Smith came to acquire it.
In it he said: "The Zeppelin Hindenburg flew over our town, it was a fantastic sight. A few hours later we heard the sirens.
"I saw a pile of broken glass and as I looked closer I found a few bottles of beer. I took six, one for each member of our group. Last year one of the men died and I got the bottle back."
The bottle, which still has beer in it, has an estimate of between £3,000 and £5,000.