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One of the oldest Cognacs tops Bonhams Whisky Sale
Cognac 1762. Gautier. Wax seal, driven cork. Hand-blown bottle, applied top. Bottled circa 1840's. Hand-written label, coated in cellar grime. Writing clearly visible. Level: (u.5.1cm below bottom of cork) No bottle size indicated, approximately half bottle size. No alcohol content indicated. (1 bottle). Sold for $59,500 including premium. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Very old and ultra-rare cognacs led the successful sale of the Whisky, Cognac & Rare Spirits Auction on April 30 at Bonhams, the third largest international fine art auction house.

The auction's top lot and front cover catalog highlight, a 1762 vintage Gautier that is one of the oldest authenticated cognac vintages known, experienced spirited bidding amongst an international clientele, eventually selling to an online bidder from Poland for a final price of $59,500. A further rare 18th century vintage cognac, a 1790 Grande Champagne, sold for $49,980, also purchased by the same bidder. Additional cognac highlights include an 1840 AE Dor, which found its new owner for $5,355.

Overall, the auction sold 94 percent of its lot offerings and about 74 percent of all lots sold either above or within their estimated values, proving the items on offer accurately reflect the current market demand for luxury spirits. A majority of the bidders were based in the U.S., followed by the U.K. and particularly Hong Kong, which is indicative of increasing popularity of this collecting category in Asia.

The 987-lot auction notes other top selling highlights of whisky, bourbon, rye, cognac and rare spirits, which includes a 40 year old Royal Salute 1953-1993 that sold for $10,115. It was a limited edition offering in a ruby red Baccarat crystal decanter for the 40th anniversary of the introduction of Royal Salute to honor the Queen's Coronation. A highlight among the fine examples of top-tier Scotch whiskies is a 40-year-old 1961 Macallan Fine & Rare that fetched $8,925. Also of note, a 1965 Macallan Fine & Rare sold for $4,760. Of the bourbon and rye selection, Hannisville Rye distilled in the 1860s and bottled in 1913 reached a final sale of $7,735, and from the Pappy Van Winkle line, a rare presentation of a 23-year-old bourbon in a crystal decanter with two accompanying crystal glasses in a leather lined cherry wood case fetched $5,712.

Other noteworthy highlights that sold include a seven bottle set of Erte Edition from Courvoisier ($5,950) and a 38-year-old Bowmore 1964 vintage ($5,355). Moreover, the two demi-johns of pre-prohibition bourbon from Chapin & Gore, a favorite of Chicago's late 19th-early 20th century gangsters, fetched final prices of $2,975 each.

Bonhams’ Whisky & Rare Spirits Specialist, Joseph Hyman, commented, "The market for premium and vintage spirits remains strong across all categories and among a wide range of buyers."

Bonhams is now accepting consignments for its next Whisky, Cognac & Rare Spirits auction, which will take place on October 19 in New York.

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