Kicking off the new year was our extended miniatures, memorabilia and books auction. Read on to find out about some of our selected highlights from the January 2024 miniature auction results.
Our first top lots of the year featured a trio of Yamazaki 18 Year Old selling for between £2,200 and £2,400 each, considerably more than the equivalent 70cl bottles of the same whisky. Yamazaki in miniature form proved to be as popular as ever with Yamazaki 12 Year Olds fetching between £20 and £35 each and this rarer Yamazaki 12 Year Old Distillery Label, bottled in the 1990s, selling for £150. For drinking all of this delicious Yamazaki in, there was a Yamazaki 55 Year Old Tasting Glasses Set that fetched £400.
Also from the House of Suntory was a limited edition Suntory Whisky 100th anniversary Gift Pack featuring a branded glass alongside an 18cl bottle that sold for £400.
The Islay category featured a few gems of its own with the star lot being a Bowmore 1964 Black Bowmore 50 Year Old, with the 2cl sample selling for £1,750.
Other vintage Islay miniatures included this Bruichladdich 25 Year Old bottled in the 1980s by Cadenhead’s that sold for £330, a Caol Ila 1966 Centenary Reserve from Gordon & MacPhail (£110), and a Prestonfield Islay 1972 16 Year Old (£80).
There was plenty on offer from another Islay favourite, Ardbeg, with a number of limited release samples available including an Ardbeg Day from Feis Ile 2012 (£260), an Ardbog (£210), and a pair of Ardbeg Alligators in Alligator skin style boxes that fetched £100-£120 each. An Ardbeg 10 Year Old with a rather fetching Copper Pot Still Presentation Stand sold for £70.
Memorabilia always throws up some of the more interesting lots and this month was no exception with vintage distillery equipment such as this Sikes’s Hydrometer from the late 19th century fetching £400, a pair of Copper Dipping Dogs selling for £280, a Cooper’s Bung Hole Reamer and a Dring & Fage Whisky Barrel Measure Stick each received winning bids of £75.
I don’t smoke, but was still tempted to bid on this Buchanan’s Black & White Music Box Cigarette Case just for novelty value. The eventual lucky winner bid £95. Some more nice additions to a home bar would include this classy vintage Sparklets Soda Siphon (£80), a set of Pewter Tankard Measures (£100), or to add a bit of colour, this set of miniature Guinness Figurines (£75).
Among the literary lots there were plenty of interesting additions to the whisky connoisseurs home library up for grabs, including a first edition copy of Silvano Samaroli’s Whisky Eretico, sold to the winning bidder for £95. Providing some historic trade interest were The Licensed Victuallers’ Official Annual 1937 (£75) and a first edition copy of Number Three Saint James’s Street: A History of Berry’s The Wine Merchants, published in 1950 by Chatto and Windus, that fetched £100.
Macallan tends to provide a wide range of collectables at auction and among the range of choices this month some of the more unusual lots included a couple of hand-blown, angel shaped bottles from The Angel’s Share containing Macallan 10 Year Old Fine Oak and Macallan 10 Year Old Sherry Oak that each sold for £180. A beautifully sculpted Macallan Angels’ Share Whisky Water Dropper decorated with a delicate pot still sold for £190,while an equally exquisite Macallan Lalique Crystal Acorn Stopper, listed alongside an invitation to the opening of the new Macallan Distillery in 2018, fetched £140.
In more conventional miniature form this Macallan Private Eye fetched £260 and a Macallan 1966 26 Year Old Limited Edition sold for £200, and for those looking for guidance on building their Macallan collection, a copy of Macallan – The Definitive Guide To Buying Vintage Macallan was eventually won for £110.
For fans of vintage blended whiskies there were some great bottles from the early to mid twentieth century including a beautifully well-preserved White Horse 1959 sold for £90 after some competitive late bidding. Another 1950s White Horse fetched £40 while a similarly aged Bulloch Lade Gold Label Spring Cap sold for £30. A slightly earlier 1940s spring cap bottle of Haig & Haig 5 Star imported to the US state of Wisconsin sold for £28 and a bottle of Vat 99 10 Year Old, imported to Illinois by Sam Cassel & Company in the 1930s, sold for £35.
For those interested in mature malts, there were a pair of miniatures from Gordon and MacPhail that had reached the half century mark, a Glenlivet 1948 50 Year Old, sold for £300, and a Glen Grant 1948 50 Year Old (£180).
In the USA whiskey category, a Pappy Van Winkle Tasting Set from The Whisky Exchange featuring 5 releases of the much sought after Bourbon, including the 23 Year Old and a tasting glass to enjoy them in, sold for £360.
Some sample bottles from Mount Gay saw some late bidding in the Rum category with a pair of Mount Gay 1703 The Master Blender Collection ending on a winning bid of £75 and a Mount Gay 1703 Single Estate 2023 Release fetching £60. Also sold for £60 was a Brugal Coleccion Visionaria Edition 1.
Finally, the miniature collection you never knew you needed could be bought in one single lot with a complete set of Alphabet Miniatures from The Whisky Connoisseur covering A to Z, won for £160.