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Alfred Barnard book sells for £3,450 at auction

A first edition copy of The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard fetched £3,450 (US$4,690) at auction.

Alfred Barnard whisky distilleries
The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom was penned by Alfred Barnard

The 19th-century book was sold by London-based Whisky.Auction, which was recently acquired by Pernod Ricard.

Barnard went on a two-year journey from 1885-1887, visiting 162 distillers in Scotland, Ireland and England. A year later, he published his findings in The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom.

The book is often used today as a reference for old and rare whisky collectors, keen to learn more about the multiple distilleries that no longer exist.

Isabel Graham-Yooll, auction director at Whisky.Auction, said: “We were thrilled to see this book made available for the public to bid on, it’s a book we often refer to but rarely get the opportunity to read.

“We were expecting this rare travelogue to do well at auction but it was given an extra boost by having such impeccable and fascinating provenance.

“The book is engaging throughout, Barnard drew on the local lore and legend told to him by the many characters he met on his travels, ranging from proprietors and chief excise officers to hoteliers and coachmen.

“He describes the journeys taken to reach each distillery (the journey often more important than the destination) be it by train, steam boat, horse and cart or on foot.

“First editions of The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom are such a rare find. This is a book that was originally a trade publication and so it’s not something that would have been commonly found in every book shop.”

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