Huge online auction in Market Harborough to sell off 4,000-whisky bottle collection - and the collector doesn't even like the stuff

The collection is estimated to be worth up to £35k

Monday, 6th December 2021, 5:35 pm
Brian Marshall.

A huge online auction is going ahead in Market Harborough to sell off the incredible 4,000-whisky bottle collection of a local enthusiast – and he doesn’t even like the stuff.

You can really dive into the Christmas spirit by snapping up one of Brian Marshall’s massive haul of whisky miniatures and whisky memorabilia at the super sale.

The timed virtual auction, which is being offered without reserve, is being staged now by Gildings Auctioneers.

And it will close at 6pm on Sunday December 12.

Brian’s pride and joy stars many rarities and is estimated to be worth up to £35,000.

The Kettering-based connoisseur has built up his unique collection from as far away as Australia, America, Iraq and Uruguay over the last 30 years.

Brian admits he doesn’t even like the taste of the hard stuff.

But his astonishing passion for collecting whisky miniatures took off when he started taking holidays in Scotland around his hobby.

And he’s never looked back.

The standout lot from the first part of the auction, which ended on November 14, was a book called The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard.

It was tipped to go for £300 - and went under the hammer for a staggering £1,900.

Brian picked up this guide, which details every distillery in the country and describes techniques and methods of the late Victorian period, in a car boot sale in Scotland for £5.

“£5 is quite pricey for a book at a car boot sale, but the seller insisted because it was a hardback so I said I could stretch to it!

“It’s incredible to think that it’s sold for so much now,” he said.

“I took a whole box of whisky books to the charity shop a few months ago so I’m wondering if I should have done that now!

“But I thought the entire collection would be worth around £8,000.

“So the fact that just one book has made nearly a quarter of that is incredible.”

Other highlights included several collections from The Whisky Connoisseur series, including £375 for a complete Game Birds of Britain miniatures series and £155 for a single miniature of Ardbeg 30-year-old.

Presentation gift sets issued by Signatory Vintage also performed well, as did a 1971 single miniature bottle of Macallan 18-year-old which sold for £90.

Gildings’ director and wine, whisky and spirits specialist Will Gilding said: “We are delighted with the results of part one of the sale of Brian’s fantastic collection and looking forward to seeing the bids come in for part two.

“It was great to see the interest in the whisky itself.

“However, the fact that a book was the biggest seller proves that currently there is as much of an appetite for whisky memorabilia as there is for the spirit.”

The second mini-auction includes 124 bottlings of Ballantine’s whisky, each with a different label from around the globe and over the decades.

There are also highlights from some of the greatest names in whisky.

They feature a miniature bottle of Macallan 1961 commemorating Private Eye magazine’s 35th anniversary estimated at £200-£300 and a very rare box set of Springbank ‘Old Local Barley’, which could attract bids of up to £1,000.

“Fittingly, I discovered the Springbank set on St Andrew’s Day.

“It was one of the last things to be catalogued and it’s arguably one of the most exciting lots within the whole collection, although every box of Brian’s has uncovered a little treasure,” added Will.

“As well as sought-after rarities, the second part of this auction has something for the taste and budget of every whisky lover.

“So, don’t let Santa go thirsty this year – treat him to something warming!”