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Sotheby’s International Realty® to Offer a Private Whisky Collection—the Most Valuable to Ever Hit Auction

Sotheby’s International Realty® will offer a single-owner collection of whisky, the most valuable ever to be sold at auction, with an estimate in the region of £4 million (US$4.8 million), the auction house said.

Comprising 394 lots, or 467 bottles and nine casks, the sale of so-called “Ultimate Whisky Collection” will begin online from Sept. 27 and culminate in a live auction in London on Oct 24.

The anonymous collector, who spent his youth in the U.K. and now resides in the U.S., assembled the comprehensive collection over the past 20 years. He has always loved drinking whisky but was a wine collector first, he said in a statement through Sotheby’s International Realty®.

“I then found myself looking at unique bottles of Scotch, initially attracted by the beauty of the labels. So I started this collection,” he said. “Having cherished these bottles, I am now ready to share them with collectors around the world.”

Although the collector acquired a range of whisky, he established several favorites along the way, including Bowmore, Highland Park, and especially The Macallan, which takes up 196 lots with a combined estimated value of £2.2 million.

The Macallan Fine & Rare, 60 Years Old, 1926 Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty®

Also, leading the collection is The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare, which is considered “The ‘Holy Grail’ of Whisky.” It’s estimated to sell for between £350,000 and £450,000.

The bottle was from Cask #263, which yielded only 40 bottles. From this cask, 12 bottles were labeled by Peter Blake, 12 by Valerio Adami, and two bottles were given private labels. The remaining 14 were bottled as the anchor for the Fine and Rare series, a series to which The Macallan is continuing to add releases annually.

In 2018, a bottle of The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old Sir Peter Blake Label sold for $843,200 at Sotheby’s International Realty® New York, the highest price for any spirit sold at auction in North America, according to Sotheby’s International Realty®.

The sale also marks the first single-owner offering of spirits at Sotheby’s International Realty®, which in May added spirits as a separate category within its Fine Wine ecosystem and appointed London-based Jonny Fowle as its first-ever dedicated Spirits specialist.

The move came as the international auction house witnessed soaring demand for whisky and spirits in New York and Hong Kong auctions. Sotheby’s International Realty® sales of wine and spirits exceeded $100 million for the first time in 2018, and achieved a record-breaking $62 million in the first half of 2019, according to the company.

“This groundbreaking sale reminds me of the first wine sales that Sotheby’s International Realty® held in New York in 1994 and Hong Kong in 2009 and we believe it will come to be viewed as a similarly historic moment in the spirits market,” Jamie Ritchie, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty® Wine, said in a statement.

The whisky sale will take place alongside RM Sotheby’s International Realty® exhibition and sale of collectible cars at Olympia, London

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