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Top 10 whiskies at auction

Could you have a priceless vintage whisky in your cupboards without knowing it or looking to invest? Here are the top 10 whiskies to invest in according to prices at auction. 

Scotch whisky delivers average returns of around 12% a year and whisky as an investment asset class is booming. Martin Green, head of whisky at Graham Budd Auctions has put together a list of the value of vintage whiskies − highlighting how some bottles which could have cost in the hundreds could now be in the thousands, especially if more than 20 years old and in good condition.

He said: “I’ve met people who have treated themselves to a nice bottle in the past and kept it at the back of a cupboard, with no idea what it could be worth today,” Martin said. “People could be sitting on a goldmine without realising it.”

According to Green, the condition is essential to getting a good price: “Bottles, labels and seals should all ideally be in perfect condition, with good levels of spirit in the bottle and no evaporation having occurred”.

Here ten bottles Green believes will continue to sell well with comments on each bottle.

1: The Macallan – Over 50 year old, 1928

Auction value £70,000-100,000

“This is a rare bottle which originally retailed for £110 in the early 1980s. Only 500 bottles were released onto the UK market at the time – as you can imagine many have been drunk! Bottles of this year of distillation have very seldom been seen at auction or at retail since the turn of the new Millennium.” Green said.

2. Black Bowmore, 1964:

Estimated auction values:

1st edition, bottled 1993: £15,000-17,000

2nd edition, bottled 1994: £12,000-15,000

3rd (Final) edition, bottled 1995: £12,000-15,000

Green said: “These are iconic bottlings, the colour of the spirit speaks for itself. The spirit was matured in Olorosso Sherry casks which gives it its dark, rich colour. Only 6,000 bottles were ever produced for the UK market, which is why it’s in demand now.”

3: Bowmore Bicentenary, 1779-1979

Estimated auction value: £2,500 – £3,500

Green said: “A Bowmore, bottled to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the distillery, with a limited release of 22,000.

I love the unusual bottle design which is based on a very old hand blown bottle held in the distillery archive and replicated for this run.”

4. Glenfarclas, 1961

Estimated auction value: £1,200 – £1,600

Green said: “An early vintage Glenfarclas released prior to the more commonly known and exclusive Family Casks Vintage expressions range.”

5: Glenmorangie 22 year old, 1963

Estimated auction value: £1,800-2,000

A 22 year old Glenmorangie released onto the market in 1985, the first expression of a vintage Glenmorangie to appear on the open market” Green said.

6. The Macallan Private Eye 35th Anniversary

Estimated auction value: £4,000-5,000

Green: “A limited bottling of a total of 5,000, each individually numbered, the bottling includes one cask Bonded in 1961 with the colourful transfer printed label design by illustrator Ralph Steadman”

  7. Springbank Local Barley, 1966

Estimated auction value: £2,500-2,800

“Springbank distillery released several cask bottlings from this year, each bottling has the cask details and number printed on the colourful, very appealing labelling,” Green explained.

8. The Macallan – 1938, bottled 1980s

Estimated auction value: £10,000 – £14,000

9. The Macallan-1940, bottled 1981

Estimated auction value: £12,000 – £16,000

10. The Macallan-1950, bottled 1980s

Estimated auction value: £5,000 – £6,500

“With their simple and stylish handwritten labels, presented in rustic wooden presentation cases, these are mature Macallan expressions of between 30 and 40 years in age, released worldwide in the 1980s prior to the launch of the refined and luxuriously presented Fine & Rare Collection of Macallan in the early 2000s.”

The Graham Budd Whisky auction is due to take place on 19 October. For more information, visit Graham Budd Auctions website here.

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