Consider this: there were seven whisky auctions last December where thousands of great whiskies changed hands.In fact, there were nearly as many single malt whisky bottles auctioned that month as during the entirety of 2007.More than £10 a minute was spent at auction or the equivalent of one bottle changing hands every 20 minutes. Round the clock, every single day, all month. When Hogmanay came, I hope you tore open the seal on one of your new acquisitions and shared it with good company.The sales have brought whiskies old and new from distilleries great and small. The thirst for rare whiskies at auction continues to grow, so expect tougher competition this year. As fine wine values stumble, prices for certain whisky brands are readjusting.This could prove to be a good time to buy for the long term.AUCTION WATCH The Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 was far from the only expensive whisky to be sold recently. Christie’s December sale was for serious players only with average bottle prices topping £1,200.The Balvenie 50 Years Old 1937 took £12,000, a Gordon & MacPhail decanter of Mortlach 50 Years Old 1936 made £2,200 and The Glenlivet 50 Years Old decanter distilled 1938 made £1,500. Vintage Macallan had a field day: the 1946 Select Reserve seized £6,500, the 1951 snatched £5,000 and whilst the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee bottlings are released this year, a Macallan 25 Years Old bottled in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee achieved £7,500.In New York, Bonham’s pick of the crop were Islay malts with Black Bowmore First Edition taking $3,800, Laphroaig 40 Years Old sailing away for $2,000 but the percentage sold by lot was noticeably lower than the last U. S. sale. No such problems in Edinburgh; Ardbeg 1965 took a new personal best of £3,200.Top prices were paid for single cask Ardbegs and the Lord of the Isles delivered another £300 bottle. An early 20th century Chivas Regal 25 Years Old sold for the princely sum of £4,800.Cluny Auctions offered a wide selection of Manager’s Drams which proved very popular.The only action in January was at McTear’s, notable for what sold as what did not. The Dalmore 50 Years Old distilled 1926 achieved £4,000. A real rarity was offered, The Dalmore Sirius. Only 12 decanters were released at £10,000 each, but the high reserve of £25,000- £30,000 proved to be too ambitious barely two years since its release.