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A bottle of 'The Holy Grail of Whisky' sold for a record $1.1 million

A bottle of Scotch whisky fetched £848,000, or $1.1 million USD, at an auction on Wednesday smashing the world record.

Distilled in 1926 and bottled in 1986, The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-year-old, referred to as “The Holy Grail of whisky,” was auctioned by Bonhams in Edinburgh.

The auctioneer calls for bids as a 60-year old The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 sold for a record amount at Bonhams in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

What stands out with this bottle is the label’s artwork and the limited number produced. At the time, renowned pop artists Valerio Adami and Peter Blake were commissioned by Macallan to design labels for 24 bottles, with each artist contributing to 12 bottles. Adami, now 83, is an Italian painter best known for his bold and colorful imagery outlined by black lines.

It’s unclear how many of those Macallan bottles are still in existence, but they’ve made headlines at other auctions.

A 60-year old The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 is seen in a glass case after it was auctioned for a record amount at Bonhams in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

In May, a bottle of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 sold for £814,081, or $1.05 million USD, which was the world record at the time. At that same auction, a bottle of The Macallan Peter Blake 1926 sold for £751,703, or about $976,000 USD.

“Its exceptional rarity and quality puts it in a league of its own, and the world’s most serious whisky collectors will wait patiently for many years for a bottle to come onto the market,” Bonhams Whisky specialist Martin Green said in a statement ahead of the auction.

High net-worth investors have earned returns on investing in collectibles. Wealthy investors make so-called “passion investments” in things like fine wine, classic cars, musical instruments, rare books, jewelry, collectible stamps, gold, silver, gemstones, and other treasure assets.

According to a recent report from Credit Suisse, ultra high net worth individuals on average have about 6% of their assets in these collectibles. And it turns out collectibles such as art, wine, and musical instruments have outperformed more traditional assets like cash and government bonds. The authors of the Credit Suisse report looked at collectibles with 118 years of data.

Of the collectibles that had 118 years of data, the report found that wine was the best performer, with an inflation-adjusted price appreciation of 3.7% per year.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.


Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter. Send tips to laroche@oath.com.