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Macallan 1926 could fetch £1m at auction

The only bottle of The Macallan 1926 60-year-old Scotch to have been hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon could become the first whisky to sell for £1 million (US$1.3m) when it is auctioned next month.

The Macallan 1926, painted by Michael Dillon

The one-of-a-kind single malt is expected to set a new world record for a bottle of whisky when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in London.

It would be beating the current world record, which was set on Wednesday (3 October) by auction house Bonhams in Edinburgh when a bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-year-old sold for £848,750 (US$1.1m).

Only 40 bottles of The Macallan 1926 were released in 1986 following a 60-year maturation period in Sherry-seasoned oak barrels, each with a £20,000 (US$26,000) price tag.

Twelve were given to artist Peter Blake to design, and another 12 were set aside for artist Valerio Adami, with one bottle hand-painted by Dillon.

Until earlier this year, the last known sale of a 1926 bottle of The Macallan was through auction house Christie’s in 2007, which fetched US$75,000.

Tim Triptee MW, Christie’s international director of wine, said: “Over the past five years we have seen sell-through rates for whisky offerings increase by over 20% and in recent years, along with the consistent interest from US and European collectors, clients from Asia have been highly active in the whisky market.

“The November auction will mark one of the strongest offerings of whiskies ever presented by Christie’s, including a rare 1919 vintage Springbank, and one of the oldest bottles of single malt Scotch whisky we’ve ever offered, the Highland Park Reserve 1902.

The Macallan 1926, designed by Peter Blake

“The Macallan 1926 60-year-old will highlight the sale. The Macallan were unsure that this bottle still existed – it was last seen at Fortnum & Mason in London in 1999, and we look forward to presenting this unique bottle to our international collectors and to an exciting moment in whisky auction history.”

Other auction lots will include The Macallan Lalique 50-year-old, estimated to fetch between £60,000-£80,000 (US$78,225-US$104,300); a Yamazaki 50 Years Old First Edition, estimated to sell for between £150,000-£200,000 (US$195,563-US$260,751); a 1919 Springbank forecast to sell for between £100,000-£150,000 (US$130,375-US$195,563); and a Berry Bros & Rudd, Highland Park Reserve 1902, which is expected to sell for between £4,000-£5,000 (US$5,215-US$6,518).

Auction house Sotheby’s is also gearing up to auction a 60-year-old Macallan later this month.

On 13 October, Sotheby’s will auction one of the 12 bottles designed by Blake, known for co-creating The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, in the US.

It is forecast to sell for as much as US$1.2m.

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