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Bonhams Whisky Sale Results

Bonhams Whisky Sale in Edinburgh on 4th March saw some excellent prices being paid for old and rare malts which continue to be in great demand. The auction achieved 95% sold, illustrating the strength of the market and that demand for rare and collectable whisky continues to grow healthily says Martin Green, who heads Bonhams Whisky Sales in Edinburgh.

In September 2007, at a sale organised by Martin Green, a world record auction price for a bottle of whisky was achieved – £28,750 for a rare 19th Century bottle of Bowmore.

whisky.jpgAmong the top performing brands at Bonhams latest sale were Ardbeg, Bowmore, Glenfarclas, Highland Park Lagavulin, Laphroaig, The Macallan, Mortlach, Rosebank, Springbank and Talisker performed well and fetched very healthy prices.

Highlights of the sale included, Glenmorangie-1963, £500, Macallan Royal Marriage, £500, Mortlach-50 year old-1936, £550, Macallan-31 year old-1938 £740, Ardbeg-1975 £440, Caol Ila-15 year old Manager’s Dram £540, Glenfarclas Anniversary £1170, Macallan-25 year old-1957 £815, Bowmore Bicentenary £695, Bowmore (Sherriff’s) £695, Laphroaig-40 year old £1055, Port Ellen Maltings-21 year old £1500, Rare Highland Park-12 year old £1860, Jameson’s Irish-Bonded 1885 £815 and Johnnie Walker-Early 20th Century £985.

Bonhams Whisky specialist Martin Green, who has had 20 years in the industry, speaking about the value of Scottish Whisky says: “Bonhams Whisky Sale on 12th November 2008 in Edinburgh was Bonhams first dedicated whisky auction. Highlights of that sale included Rare Viking from Glencadam Distillery which fetched £3,240, The Balvenie-50 year old-1937 which fetched £3,240, a Bowmore-40 year old fetched £5,280, a rare Bowmore distilled during the ownership of the distillery by Sherriff’s fetched £2,760. The quality lots in this sale created great interest and performed very well.”

“I started whisky auctions in 1989 and Whisky Sales celebrated their 10th Anniversary in 1999. The first ever dedicated whisky auction took place in Glasgow during December 1989. The highlight, a rare blended example fetched £3,300. December of 2009 will mark the 20th Anniversary of my whisky sales.”

In the late 1980’s and 1990’s the auctions soon became established as an annual event attracting global interest. By 1995 the market demanded a bi-annual auction and so international collectors flocked to these events providing like-minded enthusiasts with the opportunity to meet and visit Distillery Country. Supply and demand has driven these sales to currently a quarterly event in Scotland.

Martin Green says: “Some of the single malt expressions which have become highly desirable among whisky enthusiasts who collect, have seen that buying whisky as a speculative investment can in the long term gain value. In my experience, those people who have treated buying whisky as a long term investment of ten years and over have gained the most. I regularly see my old lot tickets from decades ago still attached to bottles which come up for sale and when I compare the prices paid to the date, in the majority of cases there has been a significant rise in value.”

“Some of these bottlings are those such as Bowmore Bicentenary fetching £220 in 1995 and £500 in 2008, Black Bowmore-1964 fetching £200 in 1995 and £1600 in 2008. Bowmore is not the only distillery to make a comparison to, The Macallan Royal Marriage, bottled 1981 fetching £240 in 1995 and £400 in 2008 similarly Dalmore-50 year old-1926 fetching £750 in 1995 and £1600 in 2008. Caol Ila distillery’s 150th Anniversary bottling, a 20 year old malt never for sale publicly fetching £300 in 1995 has maintained it’s value and fetched £400 in 2008 whilst Glenmorangie’s-22 year old-1963 fetched £220 in 1995 and £400 in 2008.”

“I have singled these examples out since they are rarities, these are only a fraction of the expressions bottled by The Scotch Whisky Industry in limited quantities and much sought after, a key factor to take into account when buying whisky. Unlike wine, whisky rarely changes in the bottle, it stops maturing when it leaves the cask and it does have the added advantage of the fact that you can always drink it.”

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