NY to hold first booze auction since Prohibition
( Reuters ) - New York's first liquor auction since the U.S. Prohibition era ended will take place on Saturday, with one bottle of Scotch whisky expected to fetch as much as $30,000 (6,410 pounds).
Christie's plans to sell rare cognac, Armagnac, whiskies, Calvados and Chartreuse with a total value of up to $250,000. The top item, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, is a bottle of Macallan scotch distilled in 1926.
A bottle of straight rye whiskey made from a recipe by the first U.S. President George Washington has an estimated value of $10,000 to $20,000.
And a bottle of Cognac Grande Fine Champagne named for Napoleon's wife, the Empress Josephine, and distilled in 1811, is expected to bring in $4,000 to $6,000.
Christie's also will auction off a batch of more than 700 whiskies with an estimated value of $70,000 to $100,000.
The United States outlawed the manufacture, transportation or sale of alcoholic beverages during Prohibition, which ran from 1920 to 1933.
But New York state did not pass laws authorizing wine auctions until 1994, and spirit auctions until August this year, said Frank Coleman, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council.
Some of the bottles being auctioned have an estimated value of $300, making them relatively affordable and often long-lasting investments for keeping and tasting, said Richard Brierley, head of wine sales at Christie's Americas.
"I find just a little bit on your lips and you're done," he said.
One of the most expensive spirits ever sold at auction was a bottle of Bowmore whiskey distilled in 1850. It was sold by McTear's auction house in Scotland in September for $59,000, a Christie's spokeswoman said.