For whisky collectors and investors, there’s no greater thrill than getting the reward for your foresight, patience and wisdom at auction when someone pays out a fortune for your bottle or cask. But have whisky auctions been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic like so many other parts of our everyday life?
Of course, there has been an impact in the way they take place, with almost all auctions around the world over the last 12 months taking place virtually because it hasn’t been safe or legal to hold them in-person. However, the reality is that this has had little or no effect on what really counts at auction – the bids.
After all, who amongst us hasn’t gotten used to having to conduct our lives through a screen by now? Work meetings, quiz nights, family get-togethers and even Christmases have been done virtually, so we’re all comfortable and confident enough to give anything a go. Including investing in whisky at auctions it would seem.
The biggest example of this and the year’s big whisky story so far was the second half of the sale of the ‘perfect collection’ at Whisky Auctioneer. This was an auction for an enormous collection built up by Richard Goodings over two decades, so big that it needed to be split into two halves.
In total, the ‘perfect collection’ sold for more than £6.7million across the two auctions, making it the highest value private collection ever to sell on the secondary market. Another record was broken on the night with the sale of a Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare 60-Year-Old for £1million, the first time a single bottle of whisky has sold for that much in an online-only auction.
Other bottles sold in the auction included The Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami 60 Year Old, which sold for £825,000 and a Dallas Dhu 1921 Private Cask 64 Year Old that sold for £15,500, while a Balvenie 1961 Vintage Cask sold for £16,500.
While the ‘perfect collection’ may have been a one-off, there’s plenty of signs that whisky auctions are flourishing online. Whisky Auctioneer alone has held 17 online auctions since last January totalling a hammer price of almost £30million.
It’s not just bottles that are selling well at online auctions either. A cask of Bruichladdich – 2006 sold for £26,000 while a Ledaig – 2009 went for £13,000, both via Whisky Hammer in January.
Meanwhile, other great prices being earned at auction recently include a 40-Year-Old Dalmore 1966 that sold at The Grand Whisky Auction for £5,600 in January 2021 while a similarly aged Macallan 40-Year-Old (The Red Collection) went for £19,300 at Whisky Hammer.
In February the last golden decanter of The Glenrothes 50-year-old Single Malt sold for £39,000 at an exclusive virtual auction from Bonhams.
March saw Whisky Auctioneer and Dramfool pair up to release a selection of rare bottlings from Scotch legend Jim McEwan’s personal reserves, with a Bruichladdich Dramfool Jim McEwan Signature Collection selling for £5,778 and a Port Charlotte Dramfool Jim McEwan Signature Collection going for £5,600.
These auctions are just a sampling of what 2021 has already brought for collectors and whisky investors, with Scotch enthusiasts showing no signs of being put off by online-only auctions or the global pandemic. The value of whisky keeps on soaring regardless of the circumstances, so why not dip your toes in the waters and find out what you can achieve with cask investments with Whisky Investment Partners?