Sotheby’s spirits sale nets £1.2m

Auctioneer Sotheby’s has announced its recent online spirits sale realised over £1 million and it has unveiled an autumn line-up of 20 fine wine sales in the run up to December.

The sale finished yesterday (3 September) and realised a total of £1.2m, just over the pre-sale high estimate.

Over 40% of the lots on offer exceeded their pre-sale estimates and Sotheby’s also noticed that a high proportion of buyers were not only new to Sotheby’s but under 40 years old as well.

One of the sale’s top lots was the #1 set of the Prima & Ultima Collection which raised £26,840 with the proceeds going to the charity WaterAid, while a bottle of The Macallan Fine and Rare 56 Year-Old 1945 was the overall top lot, selling for £46,360.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said: “We are delighted to have finished the summer with a successful online auction where 47% of buyers were new to Sotheby’s and 40% of bidders were under 40 years old. It was also a privilege to offer the first release of The Prima & Ultima Collection with the proceeds being donated to WaterAid.

“The staggering values we achieved on the Macallan Fine & Rare collection are testament to the current strength of the spirits market. We look forward to continuing our success into October when we offer the Ultimate Whisky Collection Part II.”

Meanwhile, the auction house has also said it will be holding no fewer than 20 live and online fine wine and spirit sales between September and December of this year in Hong Kong, London and New York.

Lockdown requirements around the world have of course disrupted many live auctions but auction houses have been quick to move sales online and Sotheby’s Wine Department said it has still managed to hold 20 sales in the first half of this year which have made US$49m between them.

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, commented: “Innovation has long been at the heart of Sotheby’s Wine but never has it been quite so critical to our business as it has been over the past few months. As the pandemic swept across the globe we have adapted, transitioning our business online and embracing the endless possibilities that technology and the digital age have to offer. The digital transformation in the wine and spirits business has been accelerated by five to ten years as innovation, automation, simplicity and empowering clients is very clearly the future.

“These digital tools enable us to reach a much broader, younger and more dynamic market, while we continue to enjoy the support of our traditional clients. Throughout this period, across all areas of our business, we have striven to be ahead of the curve with our digital innovations, thereby allowing us to lay the groundwork for a series of new features from Sotheby’s Wine which we look forward to introducing through year end.”

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