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Issue 126 - The Gavel Comes Down

Whisky Magazine Issue 126
March 2015


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The Gavel Comes Down

Is the future of whisky auctions – online?

Lying on a shelf in Martin Green's office in Bonhams auctioneers in Edinburgh is a wooden crate containing a very special bottle of malt whisky. Inside is a 50 Years Old The Macallan recently bought for £15,000 by a whisky lover in the United States. One of a limited edition of 400 it was distilled in 1949 and bottled in a commemorative decanter in 1999 to mark the millennium.

“I couldn't possibly tell you the name of the buyer. But I do know he intends to use it for drinking – maybe to share among friends,” says Green.

Discreet, elegantly suited and working from a Georgian mansion in Edinburgh New Town, Bonhams whisky expert is everything you would expect of a representative of one of the UK's oldest and most established auctioneers.

Bonhams, established in 1793, holds four auctions a year, selling a total of more than 10,000 bottles with a minimum price of £250. Four and five figure hammer prices are common with buyers crowding the auction room and bidding online from around the world.

The most expensive bottle to pass through this office was a very rare 55 Years Old Glenfiddich bottled in honour of 109 year old Janet Sheed Roberts, granddaughter of distillery founder William Grant – which sold for £47,500 in 2012.

However there are definitely people looking at rare whiskies as an investment opportunity.

David Robinson and Andy Simpson of Rare Whisky 101 are brokers who specialise in buying up collections worth more than £10,000. Their annual Whisky Invest...

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