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Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series breaks auction record

Bonhams Hong Kong set a new auction record for a Japanese whisky collection after Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series sold for HK$11.9 million (US$1.5m) last week.

Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series was on display at Hong Kong whisky bar Club Qing

The whisky range was part of the Bonhams Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky Sale, which took place in Hong Kong on 20-21 November.

The set of 54 bottles sold for HK$11,890,360 (US$1,520,000), surpassing the previous record of HK$7.19m (US$917,000) set in August 2019 during a Bonhams Hong Kong sale. The new record-breaking set had a pre-sale estimate of HK$6.38m-HK$9.78m.

Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ director of wine and spirits, Asia, said: “We are thrilled to establish yet another world auction record with the Hanyu Full Card Series. The bidding for the 54 lots was spirited and global, with strong participation from young collectors under 40 years old.

“This fully demonstrates the universal appeal of whisky, and the deep market appetite for what is now ready to be one of the most collectable categories for the next generation.”

The Full Card Series set came from Club Qing, a bar in Hong Kong specialising in Japanese whisky and rare old Scotch whisky. It was founded in 2015 by Aaron Chan, who formed his collection more than a decade before the bar opened.

Each bottle in the set represents a playing card in a deck of cards and was sourced from a single cask dating from 1985 to 2014.

The Hanyu distillery was founded in 1941 by Isouji Akuto, a 19th-generation descendent in a line of saké brewers.

The distillery closed in 2000. Before it fell silent, Isouji’s grandson – Ichiro Akuto – took ownership of 400 casks from the distillery, and hand-picked each whisky that was released between 2005 and 2014 as part of the Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series.

Auction house Bonhams saw its global wine and whisky sales reach £16m (US$21.3m) in 2019 – a £1m (US$1.3m) increase on the previous year.

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