How To Sell Whisky At Auction

Top 10 tips for selling whisky and other spirits at auction.

How To Sell Whisky At Auction

Selling your bottles at Whisky.Auction is the second best thing to do with your whisky (after drinking it, of course). So if your tastes have changed, or you’re simply looking to raise funds to buy more whisky, get in touch for a valuation. You might be surprised to see how valuable your drinks cabinet has become.

Here we share our best advice to get the best prices for your bottles.

Step 1

Research what’s hot and what’s not

It’s true that this sounds like a lot of work but it really doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. A good place to start is by searching results of past auctions to get an idea of historic values and auction trends for similar bottles. This will give you an instant idea of your bottle’s auction value.

If you’re keen to learn a bit more about your bottle then this is where the research becomes increasingly interesting. In a previous post we shared our advice on how to date a bottle and also how to value a bottle.

Of course we’re very happy to discuss your collection with you before you submit any bottles, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice or a valuation.


Send your bottles to us as soon as possible

Our specialist spirits auctions run every month and our miniature and memorabilia auctions go live four times a year.

You’re never far away from the next auction but the earlier your items arrive with us, the sooner we can get them checked, photographed and listed ready for the auction preview catalogue.

Step 3

Pack your bottles carefully before you send them to us

We recommend lots of bubble wrap, then a bit more for luck. You can send bottles to us with a courier or bring them in person. We’ve even put together a step by step guide on how to pack a bottle.


Log in regularly and check your listings

Submitting your items early also allows plenty of time to check the online listing even before it goes live. You can watch the progress of your bottles from the comfort of your own home by logging into your dashboard. Let us know if you spot any errors!

Once the auction goes live you can watch the price of your entire collection going up in real time. It gets pretty exciting.

Step 5

Don’t miss anything out

Include any original gift boxes, outer packaging, spare stoppers, certificates and receipts. One reason people collect old and rare whiskies and spirits is because each bottle represents a living history of a country, its geography, environment, culture, chemistry and technology. Some bottles are more than a hundred years old and are a chance for an individual to taste a piece of living history.

Anything that will help the bottle sell might add value too.


Avoid setting a high reserve price for your lot

In fact, we recommend you don’t specify any reserve price at all. Reserve prices can put people off bidding altogether and you may find your item ends up unsold even when similar ones sell for more than your reserve at the same auction!

The only exception to this rule is if you expect little interest, for instance it might be a really niche product that’s rarely seen for sale.

Step 7

Most of the bidding activity occurs in the final few hours of the auction

So don’t be unduly alarmed in the early stages if bids for your items aren’t close to their estimates. Compare the auction to a track bicycle race. When the auction goes live there’s a flurry of activity but this is just so that everyone gets their balance. Then bidding slows down and this is for a variety of reasons. Tactics are the key to winning this race, some bidders want to surprise their opponent with early bids, others want to save energy for a bidding sprint later on in the auction, some are trying to coax the other bidders into starting the sprint for the finish line before they do. If you want to explore bidding tactics further we also have tips on how to bid.

Having said all that, if you really think your item isn’t getting the attention it deserves, please let us know. If we agree with you we might be able to add it to our newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Step 8

Think internationally when you’re choosing what to submit and when

We have buyers and sellers across the globe, so seasonality might matter less than you’d think. Some of our buyers love searching the auction for old and rare Christmas gifts and New Year gifts, but far more of our bidders are whisky and spirits enthusiasts every day of the year, building up collections and looking for rare finds to taste.

Step 9

Don’t bid on your own items to try to boost the selling price

It’s illegal! The process is known as shill bidding and is banned on our auction site, it breaks fair trading rules and in UK law there is up to £5,000 fine. If we find that you are pushing up a price artificially by bidding against yourself or by getting family or friends to do so we will close your account.

Step 10

Whisky.Auction is not just for selling your Single Malts

Bidders come to us for blends, American whiskey and Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky and world whisky and all sorts of spirits such as rum, Cognac, Armagnac, gin, vodka, Tequila, liqueurs, vermouth, fortified wines, Champagne and fine wine as well as spirits memorabilia such as branded glassware, ceramics and whisky books.