Whisky Auctioneer founder, Iain McClune, at The Gleneagles Hotel American Bar (Photo: Peter Dibdin)
Whisky Auctioneer founder, Iain McClune, at The Gleneagles Hotel American Bar (Photo: Peter Dibdin)

‘The Perfect Collection’ auction sets whisky records

Whisky history has been made as the results from the first part of the world’s largest private whisky collection to go to auction were announced – with notable record breaking hammer prices.

Sold by the online whisky auction, Whisky Auctioneer from Perthshire, the auction saw 1642 bidders from 56 countries around the world taking part.

The Collection has been built and nurtured by the late Richard Gooding – an American private collector from Colorado. Mr Gooding spent decades in pursuit of creating ‘The Perfect Collection’ of whisky, leaving no stone unturned by travelling regularly to Scotland with his pilot in search of special bottles at auctions and distilleries.

The highly coveted, valuable and rare Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami 60 Year Old with a hammer price of $1,072,000 (£825,000) broke the current world record hammer price of $912,000 set from October 2018. The sale also creates a landmark moment for the secondary whisky market, with Whisky Auctioneer becoming the first online whisky auction to sell a million dollar bottle.

Bids for the lot came in from across 11 countries, including UK, Germany, Singapore and Australia with the eventual winning bid coming from Europe.

Another record breaking achievement within this auction includes the Macallan 1928 Anniversary Malt 50 Year Old which achieved a hammer price of $119,863 (£92,000) which held a previous record hammer price of $93,819 when it was sold in October 2019.

Described as ‘The Perfect Collection’ the collection has already generated extensive global interest.

Highlights from part one of the auction:

• Lost distilleries: O.O. Old Orkney Real Liqueur Whisky circa 1930s from Stromness Distillery set a record itself, bidding reached fever point on the last day of the auction with the price jumping from $8,603 (£6,600) to $33,891 (£26,000) with four different bidders from UK, Germany, Vietnam and Italy battling it out in the final moments.

• Macallan: An exceptionally large offering of 201 bottles from The Macallan distillery featured, reaching a total hammer price of $2,559,218 (£1,997,000), including revered releases from their Lalique range. Record breaking hammer prices of note include Macallan 1949 Fine and Rare 52 Year Old #935 achieving a hammer price of $44,328 (£34,000). The previous hammer price record of $38,529 (£29,670) was set in August 2019. Macallan 1946 Select Reserve 52 Year Old 75cl US Import reached a hammer price of $25,452 (£19,600), the previous record hammer price was $17,531 (£13,500) achieved in April 2019. The Macallan 62 Year Old Lalique also set a record hammer price at $70,410 (£54,000) which exceeds the previous record hammer price of $65,194 (£50,000).

• Ardbeg: Another bottle of note within the first part of Mr Gooding’s Perfect Collection is the Ardbeg 1974 Double Barrel 2 x 75cl / US Import which achieved a hammer price of $27,705 (£21,250). The previous record was $22,164 (£17,000) and sold by whisky.auction in April 2019, one key difference is that this bottle was a 70cl but gives the closest comparative figure.

Whisky Auctioneer founder, Iain McClune, at The Gleneagles Hotel American Bar (Photo: Peter Dibdin)

Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer said: ‘We always knew that The Perfect Collection by Mr. Gooding could make whisky history, but with auctions anything can happen. Not only was the highest ever sale price for Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami achieved at over a million dollars, Whisky Auctioneer became the first online whisky auction to sell a million dollar bottle, with multiple other lots achieving hammer price world records.

‘All in all the first part of the collection sale achieved $4,277,000 (£3,290,000) of sales over 1,932 bottles. Featuring show stopping Macallan bottlings from the Lalique range, astonishingly rare and iconic bottlings including a lost distillery Old Orkney from Stromness Distillery which set a record selling at $33,891 (£26,000) with bidders battling it out in the final moments as well as an Ardbeg 1974 Double Barrel reaching a hammer price of $27,705 (£21,250).

‘For me it is the diversity within The Perfect Collection that is perhaps the most exciting aspect. The breadth makes it an opportunity accessible for all. The final part of the sale starts on 10th April and contains incredibly desirable and rare bottles such as The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare and a 1937 Glenfiddich 64 Year Old. I would encourage those looking to bid to register to take part in the most exciting online whisky in the world to date.’

Angus MacRaild, whisky expert, said: ‘The results were significant for two key reasons in my mind. Firstly the top end hammer prices demonstrated clearly that, not only can the online auction model compete with the traditional auction houses with these kinds of bottles, but in Whisky Auctioneer’s case it demonstrably outperforms them.

‘Secondly, and of more interest and relevance to the wider whisky community, the prices were still largely driven by perceived quality of liquid and overall scarcity of each individual bottle. Prices were generally high, but hundreds of beautiful, historic and superb old whiskies have found new homes across the world. Some will be kept but most will be opened and enjoyed sooner or later. Something I’m sure Mr Gooding would have wholeheartedly approved of.’

Until recently, the Collection has been housed in Mr Gooding’s ‘Pub’ – a dedicated room located in his Colorado family home that was specially designed to showcase each one of his whiskies in all their glory.

The second part will run from 10 April – 20 April and contains the remaining bottles from The Collection, including The Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare, Glenfiddich 1937 Rare Collection 64 Year Old and The Balvenie 1937 Pure Malt 50 Year Old.

Registering to bid is easy and no matter what whisky you are looking for, there is something for everyone. Find the full listing, photos and condition reports, at whiskyauctioneer.com.