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Japanese whisky auction breaks world records

A rare whisky collection and a single bottle of 52-year-old Karuizawa are thought to have set two new world records at a recent Hong Kong auction.

A full set of Hanyu Playing Cards has set a new world record for the most expensive Japanese whisky collection, according to auctioneer Bonhams

A full 54-bottle range of Hanyu Playing Cards was sold for HK$3,797,500 (£319,000) at a Bonhams Hong Kong auction last Friday, shattering its HK$1.8m-HK$2.4m pre-sale estimate and setting a new world record for the most expensive range of Japanese whisky.

The range is highly coveted among collectors and is believed to be just one of four complete collections in the world. It consists of 54 bottles from the now silent Hanyu distillery, which were created using liquid from the site’s “best” remaining 54 casks.

In the same auction, a bottle of Karuizawa 1960 (52-years-old) fetched HK$918,750 (£77,000), vastly exceeding its HK$400,000-HK$500,000 pre-sale estimate and breaking the world record for the most expensive single bottle of Japanese whisky.

Both the Hanyu Playing Cards series and Karuizawa 1960 were bought by the same buyer based in South East Asia. In total, Bonhams Hong Kong sold 86% of its 386 lots at the auction, which took place on Friday 28 August.

At the time of the auction, Daniel Lam of the Bonhams wine department in Hong Kong said: “As the first auction house that brought whisky sale to Asia in 2009, our Bonhams Hong Kong team has been working our best since then to introduce different exceptionally high quality whiskies to our clients around the world.”

“Tonight’s record result is the reflection of the strong demand for the outstanding quality of the whiskies in the sale, regardless of the recent global economic slowdown. We look forward to bringing even more good items to our buyers in our next sale in November.”

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