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.
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