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The online bidder

Jonny McCormick reports on the Italian collection sold by Christie's, London
If you cannot make a whisky auction in person, you need not ignore the temptation. You can fix a maximum bid and request the auction house to bid on your behalf, or more popularly for highly collectable whiskies, arrange for the auction house to call you and conduct your bidding over the telephone.Real-time online bidding has greatly swollen the ranks of potential buyers. Bonham’s enable absentee bids online, McTear’s offer live audio with an online catalogue displaying the bottle images and descriptions but Christie’s Live currently offers the best online experience with full live video no matter where you live.Auction Watch
The Christie’s magnificent collection of whisky was keenly followed with a high proportion of lots exceeding their high estimates, yet some of the 20 to 30 bottle lots proving to be quite a bargain and contributing to a drop in WMI average auction prices for many brands. At this London sale, both Bowmore and Glen Grant outranked The Macallan from a WMI perspective although a Macallan 1946 made £3500, with Black Bowmore hitting £1700 a bottle (on the low side of 2010 prices) and three bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1936 drew £2000. The wonderfully colourful labels of the Bird Series whiskies by Moon Imports proved very popular with two bottles of Bowmore 1964 bottled 1987 fetching £1400, four bottles of two individual casks of Ardbeg 1966 bottled 1987 peaked at £3000.The rare bourbons and rye whiskies looked like they were straight from the exhibit case on Prohibition at The Museum of the American Cocktail, New Orleans and £2600 bought you 12 pint bottles including Gallant Knight Brand Whiskey and OFC Whiskey distilled at The Frankfurt distillery, Louisville prior to 1917 and St George 18 Summers Old 100 proof from 1916 bottled 1933.A second dozen matched this price and included H. S. Barton Lucky Star Brand Whiskey 100 proof, distilled 1917, bottled 1933 and a bottle of Old Baker Brand Whiskey distilled 1915.A final lot rose to £2800 and included another dozen scarce American Whiskeys with the likes of Old Joe Handmade Sour Mash Anderson County Whiskey 17 Years Old, distilled 1916, bottled 1933 and Old Billy Burke Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey, distilled 1917, bottled 1923.You don’t need to pay the earth for good whisky at auction and a 27 bottle lot of blends such as The Antiquary 12 Years Old de luxe and Bell’s Royal Reserve 20 Year Old managed £220 and at just over £8 a bottle in this bulk buy, the five bottles of The Balvenie Founder’s Reserve were a steal.15th November 2010.
Sotheby’s, New York Tel +1 212 606 7000
17th November 2010.
Bonhams, Edinburgh Tel +44 (0) 131 225 2266
23rd November 2010.
Bonhams, Hong Kong Tel +852 2918 4321
24th November 2010.
McTear’s, Glasgow Tel +44 (0)141 810 2880
7th December 2010.
Bonhams, New York Tel + 1 212 644 9001
11th December 2010.
Thainstone’s, Inverurie Tel +44 (0)1467 623770

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