The WMI has moved in only one direction this year and this month’s sharp rise is in part due to the phenomenal world record price of $460,000 set by The Macallan 64 Years Old Cire Perdue at Sotheby’s, New York for charity:water. Even excluding this exceptional bottling, we’ve seen a 35 per cent growth in volume and 6 per cent by value of WMI eligible bottles sold comparing November auction sales in 2010 with 2009. This favours the WMI rankings of brands that sell in large volume at auction (but can cause the average auction prices to fall) such as Glenmorangie, Bruichladdich and Rosebank over brands that sell for high value but in smaller volumes such as Glenfiddich and Port Ellen. Clearly, many people are realising the value in their whisky collections and the wider world is beginning to take notice. AUCTION WATCH The Christie’s New York Fine Wine sale this year was a muted affair when it came to single malt whiskies with only nine of the 15 bottles changing hands. The auctioneer’s clipped English tones made short work of the high value lots with the majority going to pre-sale commissioned bids although a single telephone bidder collected The Macallan Lalique 50 Years Old for $8,500 and the 55 Years Old at $15,000.Back in Scotland, Bonham’s Edinburgh sale was notable for a substantial sale of Glenmorangie with bottles of 1963 making £480 helping the brand overtake Bowmore to the second spot in the WMI rankings for the first time since the WMI inception in 2007. An early 20th century Clynelish 8 Years Old sold for £2,600, soaring past the high estimate of £1,500. The first SMWS releases of Glendronach (Cask 96.1) and Glenugie (Cask 99.1) hit £460 and £320 respectively, and a Brora Rare Malts 1972 22 Years Old 58.7% peaked at £660. The star turn, however, was the fascinating bottle of Glamis 10 Years Old distilled by The Glenfyne Distillery Co. Ltd which made £5,500. Later on, Bonham’s Hong Kong sale was successful, with WMI eligible bottles selling 87 per cent by value and two sets of Ardbeg Double Barrel came under the hammer for HK$100-105,000 (£8,260 – £8,673).Finally, we welcome the news that McTear’s is increasing its number of whisky auctions in 2011; their final sale in 2010 proved to be the largest sale of WMI eligible bottles this year and was the last to be overseen by Andrew Bell. The £20,000 bottle of Springbank 1919 together with scores of other J&A Mitchell bottlings helped the brand gain traction up the WMI rankings over Ardbeg.The Macallan 1948 Select Reserve 51 Years Old made £2,400 as did a White Bowmore 43 Years Old, an old style Bruichladdich 75 proof collected £850 and a bottle of Kilchoman Inaugural Release fetched an impressive £170.
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