Rare JFK Scotch highlights Bonhams whisky auction

19th September, 2013 by Becky Paskin

A rare Aberlour-Glenlivet Scotch whisky bottled by WH Holt & Sons, believed to have been given as a gift from JFK to his school roommate, is set to be auctioned next month.


The Aberlour-Glenlivet whisky given by President John F. Kennedy as a gift could reach up to US$3,000.

Bonhams’ Whisky, Cognac & Rare Spirits auction in New York on 13 October, will feature the whisky once belonging to the estate of Kirk LeMoyne “Lem” Billings, President John F. Kennedy’s lifelong friend, who had his own room in the White House during Kennedy’s administration.

Presented with a sterling silver capsule engraved “Happy Birthday from Jack”, the piece is believed to be one of the last remaining mementos of the pair’s friendship, and is expected to auction for up to US$3,000.

The auction features many other historic bottles of whisky, including a few connected with other past Presidents.

Two bottles of Maker’s Mark, created to honour President Ronald Regan’s 1985 inauguration,  selected by George Washington University Hospital doctors for the President who saved his life following his 1981 assassination attempt, are expected to fetch US$2,000 each.

A 1982 Old Vatted Glenlivet thought to come from the estate of aristocrat William Bayard Cutting (1850-1912) is expected to reach US$8,000; a 52-year-old Macallan from 1946 in a wooden display case could go for US$8,000; and a three-bottle set of 1974 AH Hirsch 16-year-old Bourbon could fetch US$2,200 each.

Also in the schedule for the auction is an 1802 Lheraud Cognac, one of only a handful of the vintage known to exist, which could secure up to US$18,000 for its seller.

Joe Hyman, Bonhams whisky specialist, said: “I’m very pleased to bring this exceptional variety of bottlings to the market. Bonhams is the only international auction house offering dedicated whisky sales in the US, and I’m confident that both collectors and connoisseurs will find what they are looking for at the auction.”

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