Drams under the hammer: February 2022

Drams under the hammer: February 2022

What to watch in the auction world this month

Auction News | 14 Feb 2022 | By Beatrix Swanson

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From whisky book sculptures to record-breaking collections, learn about what's been happening in the whisky auction world.

Coming up…

Craigellachie Village Council Whisky Auction returns

1960s Macallan Decanter containing The Macallan 25 Years Old

Part of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2022, the Craigellachie Village Council (CVC) Whisky Auction returns on Sunday, 1 May 2022 after a two-year hiatus. This formerly annual institution looks set to attract both local and international attention once again as it puts together its eighth auction catalogue of donated bottles.

The seven CVC Whisky Auctions since 2013 have sold a total of 888 lots at a hammer value of £172,106. At the last event, in 2019, the highest-valued bottle sold for £2,000 (though bottles were also available for under £20).

The income raised by previous auctions has enabled the CVC to finance various maintenance and improvement projects within the village, the latest being the extension to the Village Hall, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

Former chairperson and coordinator of the auction, Jane Tweedie, said, “The Covid pandemic meant we were unable to host the auction in 2020 and 2021, but we are all looking forward to welcoming the public back to the village hall for our auction on 1 May 2022.

"The planning and preparation for the auction involves a considerable amount of hard work for our small committee, and we are fortunate to have a very willing group of volunteers who help us pull it all together. In the past, the atmosphere in the village hall on auction day has had a real buzz, and we are hoping this year’s event is an especially exciting auction.

“If anyone would like to consider supporting the village council by donating a bottle of whisky for us to auction, then this would be very much appreciated. All donations for this purpose, from a run-of-the-mill blend to a distinctive malt, or an unusual bottling, will be very gratefully received.”

Colin Fraser, a professional auctioneer who is based in Edinburgh and grew up in Craigellachie, will again oversee bidding.

Fraser said, “‘I am delighted to be asked back to support Craigellachie Village Council in this fantastic fundraising endeavour. The two-year break has felt a long one, but I know we will all be back with a bang come the auction. The market has never felt stronger, so I am hoping for some great bottles to come in for sale!”

Full event details can be found here.

What you missed…

January Auction News

In keeping with the theme of the current issue of Whisky Magazine, Whisky Auctioneer expert Joe Wilson offers his thoughts on collaboration in the whisky world in his January auction news column, discussing everything from partnerships between big-name brands to whisky barrel-aged beer.

New global head of wine and spirits department at Christie’s

Christie’s has announced that Adam Bilbey has been appointed global head of its wine and spirits department, effective 25 January 2022. Bilbey, who is equipped with more than 20 years of experience in the fine wine industry, will be based in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Christie’s, Adam held the position of head of wine and spirits at Sotheby’s Asia, having previously worked for Berry Bros & Rudd.

François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe, commented, “We are delighted to welcome Adam on board, and…we are confident that our global presence in this category will grow and strengthen under his leadership.”

Francis Belin, president of Christie’s Asia Pacific, added, “The appointment of Adam Bilbey, and having him based in Hong Kong, not only demonstrates our continued investment in teams, but also reflects our commitment to Asia and our confidence in the region, where we witness a rapidly growing client base and appetite for fine and rare wines, as well as an increasing number of overseas collectors convening here to sell and acquire vinous treasures.”

Important whisky novel auctioned as paper sculpture

A Lyon & Turnbull auction (25 January to 1 February) sold a collection of rare book sculptures by an anonymous female artist known as the ‘Bookish Banksy’, raising thousands to benefit the Scottish Book Trust’s charitable efforts to spread love of reading and promote the importance of literacy. Originally commissioned in 2012 by the Trust to mark the first ever Book Week Scotland, the auctioned sculptures are all made of classic Scottish books. They include a stormy sea scene made of a copy of Compton Mackenzie’s Whisky Galore (1947), which sold for £9,000 (the sculptures were given a guide price of £1,000 to £1,500 each).

The book sculpture artist said, "I always felt that the sculptures were a poor attempt to communicate the transformative magic that happens when a book is read. I couldn't be more delighted that by auctioning them off, they might be turned into real books."

Cathy Marsden, a specialist in rare books at Lyon & Turnbull, who organised the sale, said, "Books are essential for the development of imagination, self-awareness and giving a sense of escapism, all of which promote good mental health and well-being. We hope that each sculpture offered for sale can help Scottish Book Trust provide the gifts of reading and literature which can change lives."

Hammer goes down on Pat's Whisk(e)y Collection

Whisky Auctioneer's Summit of Collectability (Pat is third from the right)

Over 9,000 bottles and 23 auctions later, the curtain has closed on the final auction of Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection, bringing the collection total to £3,360,000 (over $4.5 million USD).

The collection was sold by Whisky Auctioneer, a leading online platform for the sale of spirits. The highest hammer price achieved across the auctions was £20,500, for a Brora 1972 Rare Malts 22 Years Old (60.02% ABV).

Unprecedented on the secondary market, this collection, amassed by a man known only as Pat, took over 12 months to auction off. It featured over 5,000 Scotch single malts, more than 1,000 blended whiskies, over 600 American whiskies, and hundreds of often-overlooked grain whiskies and independent bottlings. Whisky Auctioneer describes it as the most complete picture of whisky ever brought to market.

This article is sponsored by Whisky Auctioneer and is created in partnership with the team at Whisky Magazine. This sponsorship does not influence Whisky Magazine's coverage of auctions and Whisky Auctioneer do not have input on editorial decisions.

About Whisky Auctioneer

Whisky Auctioneer is one of the global market leaders and trusted authorities on the buying and selling of whisky and spirits at auction. Founded in 2013 and located in Perth, Whisky Auctioneer utilises its expertise and knowledge combined with its auction platform, to increase interest and passion in the whisky and spirits community.
Whisky Auctioneer endeavours to make the market more accessible for buyers and sellers of any background and geography. Its monthly global auctions feature some of the most comprehensive selections of old, rare and collectible whiskies and spirits available online.
Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-pound bottle and outperformed the nearest traditional auction house by 200 per cent in value from spirits sales in 2020, showcasing the move that whisky collectors, investors and drinkers have already made online and firmly establishing their leading position within the modern secondary whisky market.
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