NY spirits auction a hit

The first auction of alcoholic spirits to be held in New York since Prohibition went off smoothly Saturday in Manhattan.

Rare spirits went for record prices at Christie's New York auction house, the top price of $54,000 for a bottle of 1926 Macallan Scotch that experts had predicted would be the main attraction.

It thus became the most expensive bottle of Scotch whiskey ever sold by Christie's, which has been holding similar sales in Europe since the 1990s. It was purchased by a private New York investor. The whisky was bottled in 1986 after spending 60 years in a wooden barrel. Early estimates were that it would bring a winning bid in the $20,000-$30,000 range.

An anonymous buyer had the winning bid of $102,000 for a collection of 729 Scotches, ranging from blends to single malts, including some from distilleries no longer in operation.

Also auctioned off were bottles of rare Armagnac, Calvados, Chartreuse and Cognacs. A bottle of Cognac Grande Fine Champagne named for Napoleon's wife, the Empress Josephine, and distilled in 1811 sold for $3,600. Overall, the auction brought in $304,800. Prices did not include the buyer's premium and sales tax.

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