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Issue 117 - Left Unsold

Whisky Magazine Issue 117
February 2014


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Left Unsold

What happens when your lot remains unsold at auction

Sorry to tell you this. Your whisky collection may not sell for a fortune. When there are legions of eager buyers, surely it should be easy to auction good collectible bottles? So what goes wrong? For starters, the auction specialist will advise you on the state of the market and offer their estimation on value. Some vendors enter that conversation with fixed views on the profit they are convinced they will collect. It could be optimistically based on one previous sale or a retail price seen on a website. The customer is always right, of course, and if the client cannot be dissuaded, then it may go under the hammer stifled under a high minimum reserve. More often than not, these are the lots which fail to sell. Whilst the auction house will not make their premiums, the vendor will still be charged a lot fee. They may be liable for insurance charges and catalogue photographs on top. Fortunately, there is a second bite of the cherry these days. Auction houses contact their regular buyers with a list of after sales to tempt anyone who didn't blow their budget. Ideally, there should be some leeway around the reserves but they seldom change. In practice, they cannot sell them for any less than 10 per cent under the asking price. So if you're selling take good advice and that cheque will duly arrive.

Auction Watch
For such a scarce bottle, a surprising number of bottles of The Macallan 1948 Select Reserve 51 Years Old appeared for sale throughout 2013. They produced 366 bottles...

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