Iconic record-breaking whisky auctions

24th September, 2020 by Melita Kiely

Pre-Prohibition American whiskey and Scotch


Photo credit: Christie’s

Auction house Christie’s wrapped up 2018 with a stellar line-up of rare American whiskies and Scotch bottlings dating back to pre-Prohibition times.

Held in New York, the auction included a collection of 100-year-old pre-Prohibition whiskey belonging to banker Jean-Baptiste Leonis. The 40 cases of unopened bonded whiskey, distilled as early as 1914, were discovered in 2017 on the west coast of the US in secret vaults built by Leonis in the early 1920s. The bank vaults, sealed with a combination lock, were built behind bookcases.

The collection included bottles of Old Crow Bourbon distilled in 1912, Biltmore Rye Maryland destined for the famous Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, plus rare Macallan Scotch whiskies.

Many of the lots exceeded their pre-sale estimates, such as five quarts of Hermitage Pure Rye Whiskey WA Gaines 1908, which sold for US$22,050, 12 quarts of Old Crow Bourbon 1912, which sold for US$22,050, and 24 pints of Hermitage Whiskey Bottled in Bond 9 Years Old 1914, which sold for US$23,275.

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