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Set of Japanese whisky Playing Cards to auction

A full set of Hanyu Ichiro’s Playing Cards is expected to fetch HK$1.8m-HK$2.4m (£150,000-£200,000) as part of a rare Japanese whisky auction in Hong Kong later this week.

A full set of Hanyu Ichiro’s Playing Cards will head to auction in Hong Kong

The range consists of 54 bottles from the now silent Hanyu distillery, which were created using liquid from the site’s “best” remaining 54 casks. The first expression in the series was released in 2005, and the last – the Joker – in 2014.

Since their debut, Hanyu Ichiro’s Playing Cards have been widely coveted by collectors and full sets of the whiskies are extremely rare. Only three collectors in the world are thought to be in possession of a complete series.

The set will be auctioned at Bonhams Hong Kong this Friday (28 August). The auction will also feature one of the world’s oldest and rarest Japanese whiskies – the Karuizawa 1960 (53-years-old) – which is expected to fetch HK$400,000-HK$500,000.

Other lots set to feature in the auction include Karuizawa – 1960 (33-years-old), Karuizawa – Toulouse Lautrec series, and Karuizawa – 1967 (42-years-old), which are estimated to fetch between HK$80,000 and HK$500,000.

Japanese whiskies from Nikka and Yamazaki, and Scotch whiskies from The Macallan and The Balvenie will also go under the hammer.

“In just a few years, whisky has become the choice of spirit for many buyers in the region – a development that we hadn’t anticipated,” said Daniel Lam, wine and whisky specialist at Bonhams Hong Kong. “As the number of whisky collectors in the region increase, we believe that whiskies of tip-top quality, or those which have long ceased production, are in shortage.

“Under such circumstances, auction houses are reliable source for collectors to get their hands on precious drams at reasonable prices. I hope that whisky lovers and collectors wouldn’t miss the range of rare and precious whiskies on offer at our upcoming auction.”

Earlier this year, auction house Zachys praised a “booming” market for Japanese whisky and Scotch in Hong Kong for a huge spike in its H1 2015 sales.

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