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Sotheby’s auctions ‘most valuable’ US whiskeys

Auctioneer Sotheby’s has opened bidding for the world’s ‘most valuable’ sale of American whiskey on the secondary market, with an estimated worth of up to US$1.2 million.

whiskey Sotheby's
The auction will go live on 19 March in New York City

The auction features two of the ‘most significant’ collections to come to the market in a single sale. It will display 750 lots in New York at 10am EDT on Saturday 19 March.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said: “American whiskey stands apart owing to its strength of character, and over the last two years has shown the beginnings of a meteoric rise in the secondary market.

“Maturing in virgin American oak barrels for years and sometimes decades, the resulting whiskeys are luxuriously rich, complex and unmistakably American. A muscular character can be attributed not only to this wealth of flavours but also to the high proof of the market’s most collectible bottles.”

The auction is headlined by the American Muscle Collection, a series of Bourbons and rye whiskeys, including bottlings from Willett Family Estate.

Another notable collection on offer is The Three Continents Collection Part III. These whiskeys were once part of a collection of Bourbons and ryes from the US that were allocated across five Sotheby’s auctions in 2021 and 2022.

When The Three Continents was introduced to the market in November 2021 as a single-owner sale, it doubled its estimated value and fetched US$2m just for the Part I collection.

The Three Continents and American Muscle collections are supported by a number of brands such as: Lanell’s Red Hook Rye 23 Year Old, expected to fetch up to US$30,000; Pappy Van Winkle, Double Vertical 2020 and 2021, expected to be worth up to US$24,000; Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 21 Year Old The Wheated Patriot, with a projected value of up to US$12,000; Four Roses Single Barrel 17 Year Old 2012, which may fetch up to US$5,000; Old Weller; Buffalo Trace Antique; and more.

The American Muscle Collection comprises lots one to 534, with a maximum estimated worth of US$825,150. Meanwhile, The Three Continents Collection Part III could fetch up to US$177,950, and includes lots 586-750.

Last year, The Spirits Business spoke to Fowle, who has grown the auction house into a world-leading enterprise.

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