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Our October sale — A collection of Pre-Prohibition Rye Whiskey from The Estate of Richard Mellon Scaife — featured an extraordinary offering of lots. All were presented in their original, unopened wooden cases, with the whiskey inside having been distilled between the years of 1904 and 1912 — making it some of the oldest and rarest American whiskey Christie’s has ever offered.
The collection was bottled as a private release for the Mellon family in the late 1930s, and had remained in the family cellars ‘resting’ for the next 70 years — surely the stuff of legend, the like of which will never be offered at auction again.
On tasting, the whiskey transcended all expectation: extended ageing and perfect storage treated us to case after case of astonishing liquor — bottles that had truly stood all tests of time. The long period spent in American oak barrels led to an extremely complex, nuanced character, both on the nose and on the palate and a long, memorable finish.
The Overholt whiskey attracted bids from collectors around the world, with high levels of participation from China, Europe and across the United States. It’s remarkable nature was reflected in its price: the top lot from the collection went on to sell for over $18,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-3,000.
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