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Issue 10 - Lust among the dust

Whisky Magazine Issue 10
June 2000

 

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Lust among the dust

some may dismiss them as flash trash or bric-a-brac, but in the eyes of collectors they are prized antiques. Ann Davies reports on whisky's objets d'art

Next time you find yourself wandering round a boot or rummage sale, keep your eyes open for anything to do with whisky. The distillers' determination to brand their name on anything that would take it, has resulted in a bonanza for the antiques industry. Even the most insignificant bauble can be worth a surprising amount of money.

These days a 1960s' key ring featuring Buchanan's black and white terriers could now go for up to £10 pounds, a large advertising figure from the late 19th century, featuring the striding Johnnie Walker could go for over £2,000 at auction. And don't overlook an unlikely battered tin tray – it could be worth £20.

The market for whisky collectables is big and growing every bigger. “People will collect almost anything whisky-related,” reports David Huxtable, who has been dealing in advertising memorabilia for the last seven years at Alfie's Antique Market, in London's Camden.

“Some collect things connected with a whisky they enjoy drinking. Some collect a whisky connected with the place their family comes from. I deal regularly with four generations of one American family who all collect memorabilia from the same Simmonds distillery in Reading that has now closed. They have even built their own bars at home.”

Part of the joy of possessing whisky memorabilia comes from the fact that it has such a broad embrace – ashtrays, menus, drinks mats, engraved match boxes and even golf balls and tees.

David's base on Alfie's top floor is an ...

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