Here’s a look through some of the highlights of our April miniatures, memorabilia and books auction.
The battle to be this month’s top lot ended in a tie with two of our highly anticipated miniatures both ending the night’s bidding on £3,300. The lots in question were from perennial collectors’ favourites Macallan and Karuizawa. First up was the Karuizawa 1964 48 Year Old Sherry Cask 3603. Bottled at cask strength by Wealth Solutions in 2012, this is presented in a beautiful wooden box with an accompanying book written by esteemed drinks writer Dave Broom.
Joining the Karuizawa was the Macallan 1950 52 Year Old Fine & Rare. This bottle was part of the collection of Alex Barclay from which we auctioned a number of bottles in this month’s sale. In addition to the 1950, there was a strong showing from Macallan bottles, books and memorabilia across the board as interest in the Speyside titan shows no sign of abating. There were two bottles of Macallan Private Eye that each sold for £975. In our books section we had Sara Midda’s Remarkable History of the Macallan Prints which fetched £675 and a first edition copy of The Definitive Guide to Buying Vintage Macallan that sold for £70. The highest memorabilia sale of the evening went to this Macallan 10 Year Old Wooden Box with a hammer price of £490.
Blended whiskies are often overlooked with interest tending towards single malts these days, but the auction featured an array of blends from the first half of the 20th century, a great chance for bidders to get their hands on increasingly rare bottles. This Old Orkney Real Liqueur Blended Scotch Whisky bottled in the 1930s for US importer Judge & Dolph Ltd. sold for £140 after some intense late bidding. Production ceased at the Stromness distillery in 1928 and it was eventually demolished in the 1940s making this bottle a rare addition to any collection. This well-preserved Mackie’s 12 Year Old Ancient Scotch Brand blended by White Horse Distillers in the 1930s to 1940s fetched £130, while this spring cap Dewar’s Coronation, bottled to commemorate the Queen’s ascent to the throne in 1953, sold for £100.
Staying on the theme of old bottles, the auction also had a selection of Irish whiskey ranging from the 1930s through the 1960s. Highlights included this bottle of Gilbey’s Redbreast 12 Year Old bottled in the 1960s by John Jameson & Sons (sold for £140). As a sherry importer, Gilbey’s had access to a lot of casks and would supply these to Jameson to mature their whiskey before bottling and releasing it under their Redbreast brand. Going back to the ’30s, this trio of Corbett’s 15 Year Old Blended Irish Whiskey, DWD Dublin Whiskey Distillery 7 Year Old and Geo. Roe and Co Dublin Whiskey sold for between £90-£130 each and gave any whiskey collectors a chance to own a piece of Irish distilling history.
It’s not only liquid history that collectors can get their hands on in the auction and we have had some fascinating documents in recent auctions with this one being no exception. Some of the most hotly contested lots were historic documents and we saw late bidding battles to secure acts of parliament enacted during the reigns of Queen Victoria, George III and George IV, dating from between 1801 and 1860, some of which fetched up to £110. One of the most intriguing lots was a letter, Glendronach Correspondence dated 1856 between the distillery and a Yorkshire wine merchant (sold for £170), dealing with the exchange of casks due to a client’s dislike of a particular cask being too dark and lacking in strength. The letter states that ‘we can sell the cask referr’d to better in Scotland, as they like coloured whilst the English generally do not.‘