What lucky connoisseur will be getting a £500 bottle of brandy for Christmas?

A LUCKY brandy connoisseur could be getting a £500 bottle of cognac under their tree this Christmas.

A very rare bottle of 1914 vintage Croizet Bonaparte cognac will be going under the hammer at the traditional pre-Christmas auction of wines, spirits and vintage toys at Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester on Friday, December 15.

It carries an auctioneer's estimate of £300 to £500 – or just over £700 a litre if the top estimate is achieved.

Distilled in the year that the First World War broke out, the cognac was probably bottled in the 1950s. It is sold in a presentation box with two original brandy glasses. Both the label and wax seal – bearing the date 1914 – are in good condition.

The auction will be of particular interest to lovers of cognac: a case of 12 bottles of 1943 vintage Harveys will be sold with an estimate of £100 to £150 a bottle, with a case of 12 bottles of the 1953 vintage commanding the same per-bottle estimate.

Meanwhile, with an estimate of £200 to £300 a single bottle of Grand Vin de Château Latour Pauillac 1988 is the main attraction in the wines section, and there are some excellent champagnes including a bottle of Dom Pérignon 1985 in a presentation case (estimate £200 to £300), a bottle of Moët & Chandon Dry Imperial 1966 (estimate £50 to £80) and a half bottle of Champagne Foucher & Co 1942, with an estimate of £50 to £80.

There are also bottles of port by Warre (1975 vintage) and Sandeman (1966 vintage) at £50 to £80 per bottle, and wine by the case, including Château Duhart-Milon at £400 to £500, and Château du Tertre, Château Lafon-Rochet, Les Pagodes de Cos, and La Dame de Montrose at £200 to £300 a case.

Over in the toy section, there's the usual offering of vintage teddy bears, dolls, dolls houses, and model railway locomotives, carriages, rolling stock and track, alongside some lovely Dinky motor vehicles.

Among the best is a Dinky No 511 Guy 4-Ton Lorry. While often seen in blue, this is the earlier grey cab and chassis with red wings and wheels, dating from around 1947. It comes in the original box with label, and an estimate of £80 to £120.

A boxed Dinky 562 Muir Hill Dumper Truck, complete with the driver so often missing from this 1940s-50s toy, carries an estimate of £40 to £60, while a Dinky 571 Coles Mobile Crane commands an estimate of £30 to £50.

And finally, at the one time of year when social media and e-mail savvy Britons suddenly get interested in stamps again, a massive collection of first day covers, commemorative covers, and commemorative coins will be offered for sale.

More than 200 albums along with boxes of loose covers will be sold by subject, including history, sport, royalty, military, animals, railways, anniversaries, and music. Together, the entire collection is expected to achieve between £3,000 and £5,000.

Of particular local interest are a cover issued to celebrate the Queen's visit to the new Borough of Swindon in November 1997, and a cover issued to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway in 1985, featuring The Cheltenham Flyer and postmarked Cheltenham, Glos.

But the most valuable single album is likely to be a collection of covers produced by the RAF Escaping Society, which is expected to achieve £300 to £500 on its own.

The covers were produced between 1971 and 1989, and issued in countries all over the world from which members of the society escaped from Axis POW camps during the Second World War, before being flown back to the UK.

Forty covers were issued in the series, and in most cases - in this collection at least – covers have been signed by the pilots involved in their delivery back to the UK by the RAF, or by airmen from the issuing countries.

In the case of the 1977 Escape from Tunisia, for example, the covers were flown from Edinburgh to Gatwick by captain R N Hudson, from Gatwick to Tunis by captain R Naylor and, after being stamped in Tunis back to Gatwick by captain A B Cutting and from Gatwick to Glasgow by captain D J Dulborough. Each of the pilots signed this cover, as did squadron leader E Wormald, and J H Lambert, Britain's ambassador to Tunisia.

And in the case of the Thai issue from 1974 the covers were flown by squadron leader Sutea Somsiri of the Royal Thai Air Force – who signed the cover – from the Royal Thai Airforce Base at Kamphaeng Saen along the Burma Siam Railway to the Bridge Over the River Kwai, immortalised by the 1957 movie.

For a full auction catalogue, visit mooreallen.co.uk