With the number of new whisky collectors increasing at a constant level, research is ever more crucial when deciding how much to pay for a bottle of whisky at auction. Some of the basics are just making sure that an auctioneer’s description matches the bottle being bid for. This might sound ludicrously basic to the more seasoned auction pros out there, but sometimes failure to research can have a significant impact on your back pocket.
At the recent Mctears auction a bottle of the 2011 Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival single cask sold for an equal record of £500. The subsequent lot was described as the 2010 Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival bottling, which also sold for £500. The problem was that there has been no such bottling, the description was incorrect – the bottle was the Feis Ile 2010 release. The price paid for the supposed 2010 Jazz release was more than double its current market value (previous record £240), so either someone really wanted the 2010 Feis Ile bottle or they believed they were getting an ultra-rarity, which sadly they were not.
McTears also saw some new record prices.
A bottle of Berry Brothers 1966 vintage Highland Park sold for £750. A great way of getting such an old vintage when you consider the price of the Orcadian 1968 vintage.
Some well-aged Bruichladdichs also saw their values move north. Absent from auction for over 12 months, a bottle of the 40-year-old sold for £1,100. That’s the first time this bottle has sold for over £1,000 and way above its previous sale of £640. Both Legacy ii and Legacy iii performed well, selling for £400 and £300 respectively. The price for Legacy iii was a new record; Legacy ii has previously sold for £420.
A lovely old Connoisseurs Choice Ardbeg on a 1958 vintage (18 years old) sold for an exceptional £2,000, more than double its previous best of £950 in 2010.
A Glenlivet 1948 50-year-old sold for £1,600, four times its 2008 price of £400.
There were also a number of great value lots from a buyers perspective. Octomore 01.1 sold for just £200, which takes prices back to 2012 levels. It has also sold for as much as £410 previously. An old private bottling of Jura on a 1965 vintage sold for £140, less than half its previous best of £350 and great value for such an old timer.
The final lot worthy of mention this week from McTears is lot number 927, an Ardbeg single cask (cask 1,275, 1998 vintage, bottled 2009), which carried an estimate of £1,100 – £1,300 on the McTears website. This sold on the day for an astonishing £950 (it usually sells for around £260 – £300), but showed as unsold the next day. Tweets were exchanged about why this showed as unsold when the hammer fell on the day. McTears mentioned the online estimate was incorrect and the printed catalogue had a £400 – £600 estimate, so why did it not sell when the catalogue estimate was exceeded? The question remains unanswered and the mystery remains.
Until next week.