The recent sale of Finest & Rarest Wines and Spirits at Sotheby’s in London brought a combined total of £3.7 million / $4.4 million (est. £2.8 – 3.8 million / $3.3 – 4.5 million).

A substantial proportion of lots achieved prices above their high estimates, and in a category where online bidding is traditionally strong, over 50% of the buyers placed their winning bids online.

“Against a backdrop of extraordinary circumstance, the persistence and commitment of collectors came through in yesterday’s sales, where a bottle of Japanese whisky became the most valuable ever sold, accompanied by strong prices for Scotch whisky, led by the Macallan in Lalique Decanters. Collectors also continue to compete for the world’s greatest wines, and when there is an opportunity to acquire the very best the market has to offer, as with the two cases of the legendary Cheval Blanc 1947, they are willing to stretch to the highest level.”

Jamie Ritchie, Chairman, Sotheby’s Wine

AUCTION RECORD FOR JAPANESE WHISKY

A new auction record was achieved for a bottle of Japanese whisky, with a bottle of ‘Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960’, sold for £363,000 / $435,273 to an Asian private collector, and far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £160,000-220,000. The oldest Karuizawa to have been released, this iconic bottle is one of only 41 that were produced, each uniquely identified by an individual netsuke carved from the oak cask head of cask #5627.

SALES AT A GLANCE

  • Finest & Rarest Spirits totalled £1,401,122 / $1,680,085 (est. £1 – 1.45 million / $1.2 – 1.7 million)
    • 45% of lots sold achieved prices above the high estimate 
  • Finest & Rarest Wines realised £2,264,018 / $2,714,784 (est. £1.8 – 2.3 million / $2.1 – 2.8 million)
    • 51% of lots sold achieved prices above the high estimate

TOP LOTS

  • The auctions were led, respectively, by two landmarks in the world of whisky, and one of the most legendary Bordeaux:
    • The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, rarely seen in an unbroken vertical, sold for £423,500 / $507,819 (est. £320,000-480,000)
    • A decanter containing the oldest whisky ever to be released from The Macallan Distillery – The Macallan Lalique Genesis Decanter 72 Year Old – brought £84,700 / $101,564 (est. £70,000-100,000)
    • A bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960 became the most valuable bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold, achieving £363,000 / $435,273
    • Two cases of Cheval Blanc 1947 – considered the greatest Cheval Blanc of the 20th century – each made £242,000 / $290,182 (12 bottles, est. £140,000-190,000) and £229,900 / $275,673 (11 bottles, est. £130,000-170,000)
Sothebys

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection, artist, estate & foundation advisory services of its subsidiary, Art Agency, Partners. Sotheby’s also presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby's Global Fine Art Division, and three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.

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