‘Spectacular’ results for Madeira and whiskey in NYC

Christie’s latest sale in New York saw excellent results for two rare collections of old Madeira and pre-Prohibition whiskey.

The sale realised just over US$3 million in total and the top lot was a 5-gallon demijohn of 1846 Madeira, while 12 bottles of Overholt, Rye Whiskey 1905 at $31,850 was the top spirits lot.

The first session of the sale was a mix of classic fine wines, from Bordeaux to Burgundy and California. Christie’s reported “notable results” for a full case of 1959 Château d’Yquem ($18,375) and another dozen bottles of 1974 Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($34,400).

Three bottles of Henri Jayer’s 1985 Richebourg realised $36,750 and 12 bottles of 1966 Petrus went for $23,275.

In the afternoon the Madeira and whiskey went on sale. The Madeira was discovered at the Liberty Hall Museum in New Jersey in 2015.

Spanning the 18th and 19th centuries, the auctioneer described it as “probably the greatest collection of historic madeira…ever to be offered for sale in the United States.”

A demi-john of the 1846 Sercial achieved $39,200, while a quart bottle of ‘Lenox Madeira’, imported in 1796, was sold for $14,700.

The whiskey consignment included spirits that were over 100 years old and that had once belonged to the banker Jean-Baptiste Leonis.

Other top lots here included nine quarts of J.H. Beam Old Style Brookhill, Sour Mash 1912, which went for $26,950 and a five gallon demi-john of Twoplex, Rye Whiskey 1876 made $29,400.

Meanwhile, 12 quarts of Old Crow Bourbon 1912 ($22,050), five quarts of Hermitage Pure Rye Whiskey 1908 ($22,050) and 24 pints of Hermitage Whiskey 9 year old 1914 ($23,275).

In addition, a rather more modern decanter of The Macallan Millennium went for $34,300.

Chris Munro, head of Wine Department, Americas, commented: “Both of our featured collections of Madeira and Pre-Prohibition American whiskey witnessed exceptional results. Clients from throughout the United States and around the globe fought to acquire these exceptionally rare lots. The sale was a watershed moment for these incredibly rare and sought-after American whiskies as hammer prices smashed through our pre-sale estimates.”

For the full results, click here.

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