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Scotch whisky, 150 years old, fetches £14,750

A half-sized bottle of Scotch whisky that's about 150 years old sold for £14,750 (€21,865) at auction in London, beating the top presale estimate by almost 50%.

The Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky, bottled on Speyside, in northeast Scotland, some time between 1851 and 1858, was bought by an unidentified buyer at the auction yesterday. The bottle contains 14 fluid ounces and the whisky may be the world's oldest, according to Bonhams, the auctioneers. “There is an increasing interest in whiskies that are a bit different,” Richard Harvey, head of European wine sales at Bonhams, said in an interview. “I think it's a record for that size.” Bonhams had estimated a sale price of as much as 10,000 pounds for the half-sized bottle. The prices collectors are willing to pay for Scotch malt whisky have risen. An anonymous Asian buyer in September 2005 paid 70 million South Korean won ($75,200) for the last bottle of 1926 Macallan malt whisky, a record for a public auction.

A bottle of 60-year-old Macallan fetched 20,150 pounds in 2002. The winning bidder was represented by telephone from Scotland, said Harvey. The bidder whose offer was beaten came from the US, he said. The Glenavon whisky may date back to before 1851 because there are no records of the distillery before then, Harvey said. The bottle was sold by a Northern Ireland woman whose family owned it for at least three generations, he said. The Glenavon distillery was licensed in 1852 to John G. Smith, son of the founder of the nearby Glenlivet Distillery. In 1859, they consolidated their distilleries at Glenlivet, which is now owned by Pernod-Ricard SA's Chivas Brothers unit. The price included a 10% so-called buyer's premium, which is the fee payable by the buyer to Bonhams. (Bloomberg)