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Issue 77 - There's a greater awareness among people who are buying to be careful

Whisky Magazine Issue 77
January 2009


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There's a greater awareness among people who are buying to be careful

Ian Wisniewski talks with Martin Green, whisky consultant at Bonhams in Edinburgh.

IAN What was your career path to Bonhams?

MARTIN It was a long journey from being involved in wine sales in the 1980s, which then had whisky included in them, to the first whisky auction taking place with Christie's in 1989, and supply and demand from the market, both buyers and sellers, drove that on to two sales a year.

When Christie's closed its Scottish operation I moved to another competitor, demand again drove the sales to four times a year, and I've been at Bonhams since July, 2008.

IAN How many Scotch whisky auctions does Bonhams hold annually?

MARTIN We plan to have four in 2009, a sale in March, one in June, we're planning also to have a section on whisky and possibly whisky related memorabilia in the Scottish sale in August, with another sale later in the year.

IAN When sourcing lots for the auction, to what extent do you have to go looking?

MARTIN I would say the majority of people come to myself, and that could be through various routes.

IAN Presumably you have an extensive network of contacts?

MARTIN Indeed.

IAN How do you prepare auction estimates?

MARTIN It can be current market trends, the financial markets, popularity, rarity, past record. I've got to take an awful lot of that into account when providing an estimate.

IAN How challenging can it be to verify the authenticity of certain whiskies?

MARTIN I don't think it's that challenging. There are obvious areas that one would be sceptical about. If anything dubious did appear, and if I wasn't cert...

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