It has been exactly 40 years since the last daily ration of rum was handed out to members of the Royal Navy.
On July 31, 1970, on what was known as "Black Tot Day, the tradition going back some 300 years ended, with sailors wearing black armbands and conducting mock funerals to bid farewell to the rations.
That did not mean, however, that the rum was all gone. A small supply from E.D. & F. Man & Co, official rum merchants to the Navy since 1784, was stored in wicker-clad stone veessels and went untouched except for state occasions.
Now the remaining 6,000 bottles, each in a dark wooden case with a copper cup measuring the official "half gill" measure, are going on sale at £600 ($940 U.S.) each at the HMS Belfast anchored on the River Thames in London.
[Go here for the story of the Royal Navy's rum ration, known as "grog."]
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