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Josh
10-31-2012, 11:46
$333 for a BUB? That's what somebody paid in a recent Bonham's auction in LA, and that's not even the worst of it. Adam from the LA Whisk(e)y Society writes about it here: http://lawhiskeysociety.com/pages/Bonhams-Whisky-Auction-Use-Caution

His conclusion is that, yes, these people are dumb for not doing any sort of research but it's also bad for the rest of us because their ignorance drives whiskey prices higher for everyone.

Any thoughts?

Chuck's take is here: http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2012/10/mis-identified-bottles-tarnish-bonhams.html

MyOldKyDram
10-31-2012, 11:56
I particularly like the circa 50s 1996 vintage.

To what extent do these auctions actually influence retail prices?

Tico
10-31-2012, 12:08
Forget the mislabeled stuff. I want to meet the person that paid $892 incl premium for 3 bottles of BT experimental collection!
:slappin:

michaelturtle1
10-31-2012, 12:59
I hope who ever bought the AMS medicinal whiskey bought it as an "investment" as they spent alot of money on the most vile tasting whiskey I have ever tasted

IowaJeff
10-31-2012, 13:45
I was blown away by the price on the AMS whiskey. That stuff was all over ebay for years and never brought that much. There were some head scratchers. $380 for 2 VW 12's and a VW 10? Um, I'll go ahead and take 18 bottles of Weller 12 instead, thank you very much.

I had my eye on the Parker's Heritage lot. Mostly for fun, I figured there would be no way it wouldn't go for much more than I would pay. Even that was messed up. It was listed as 2 golden anniversarys, and 3 10 year olds. But the picture looks to me to be 2 GA's, 1 Cognac, 1 27, and 1 10. In the end, the buyer probably got 2 evan williams black labels, a EW SB, and an EC12.

Josh
10-31-2012, 13:55
I particularly like the circa 50s 1996 vintage.

To what extent do these auctions actually influence retail prices?

That's a good question. I wish Adam would have spelled that out a little more.

There are plenty of cases of people who have told tales of store owners pointing to ebay to justify their pricing of stuff like Van Winkle and BTAC. Auctions like this might have the same impact, but those store owners whose stock turns over so slowly that they have 1980s or 1990s stuff still in the store are not likely to be the ones spending a lot of time searching auction information online, especially now that ebay has changed its policy.

I think his broader point is a good one, though. Uninformed consumers do funny things to the market.

cowdery
10-31-2012, 15:41
It's funny. Nobody takes the prices paid at the Getz auction seriously because that's viewed as a charitable donation, not a real test of the market. No charity involved here just, apparently, people with more money than sense. I got an email today from someone particularly incensed about the 'circa 1950s' Elmer T. Lee.

Re that, does anyone remember when the original version of that was introduced and when it was replaced by the current bottle? I think the current bottle came in 2002. I thought the original was mid-1990s but the 'circa 1950s' bottle at auction has Buffalo Trace on the label, and that name didn't appear until 1999.

The guy who wrote to me about it said he complained to Bonhams and was treated rudely, although that may be because he insisted on calling the Lee bottle and others 'fakes.'

I think auctions have zero effect on the market at large but may have a small effect on prices of things like the Antique Collection, although the individual store's past experience with demand for those limited release series is much more important. It's meaningful that usually when something like a Van Winkle or Hirsch is spotted at retail, it's over-priced, and that's probably why it's still sitting there. Most people who buy this stuff know what it's worth, which is why the Bonhams results are so odd.

MyOldKyDram
10-31-2012, 15:45
I hope they were incensed with themselves.

cowdery
10-31-2012, 15:49
He didn't buy it and said he was put-off on bidding for anything because of the things he knew were wrong.

berto
10-31-2012, 17:51
Bonham's ought to be ashamed. Caveat emptor? Sure, but Bonham's knowingly sold items that were obviously misrepresented. I'd like to think Bonham's was at least slightly better than the local flea market but I guess not. I'd rather deal with a shady guy and his collection "found" items.

compliance
10-31-2012, 18:59
I think it's great that all the bloggers have picked up on this and started writing about it. Besides the ones listed, K&L also mentioned it in their spirits blog. If Bonham's is not curating their auctions honestly, then they can and should lose reputation over it. Eventually fewer people will want to deal with them and they will lose the market. Once the "collectors" find out they're being had they'll get rightfully pissed too. I think it is pretty brazen of Bonhams, there isn't really any plausible deniability here.

wadewood
10-31-2012, 20:51
Bonham's ought to be ashamed. Caveat emptor? Sure, but Bonham's knowingly sold items that were obviously misrepresented. I'd like to think Bonham's was at least slightly better than the local flea market but I guess not. I'd rather deal with a shady guy and his collection "found" items.

I was about to post the the same sentiment - well said.

MauiSon
11-01-2012, 17:56
I liked the 17 year vertical EWSB collection - sold for $280/bottle, including the current 2002 bottle. Makes my 3 year vertical at $23/bottle look purrty delectable.

HighInTheMtns
11-01-2012, 18:16
I liked the 17 year vertical EWSB collection - sold for $280/bottle, including the current 2002 bottle. Makes my 3 year vertical at $23/bottle look purrty delectable.
Here's hoping that was only because the EWSB auction was for charity. They were John Hansell's bottles, he has a new blog post about it.

These auction prices are just crazy. 3 year EWSB vertical at $23 each, on the other hand - a great value!

tanstaafl2
04-01-2013, 19:55
Seems to be a bit of a blog battle going on over the Whisky Advocate article about the Bonham auction debacle. I don't subscribe to it currently so I haven't seen the reported defense of the auction house but the defense of their original criticism on the LA Whisk(e)y website (http://lawhiskeysociety.com/pages/Bonhams-Whisky-Auction-Response) seems pretty compelling!

Dolph Lundgren
04-02-2013, 06:02
Caveat emptor...Best to know what you buy before you buy it.

A problem with Bonhams is that they hold themselves out as an appraiser.

Josh
04-02-2013, 06:25
I'm amused that Bonham's defense is that they were too lazy to do a good job. McCormick's assertion that that Bonhams had no motive is silly on its face and Adam's blog post puts that to bed.

As for WA, I understand that they are not going to rock the boat and that's fine but the decision to wade into this conflict on the side of Bonhams was not a good one.

Brisko
04-02-2013, 11:10
I'm amused that Bonham's defense is that they were too lazy to do a good job. McCormick's assertion that that Bonhams had no motive is silly on its face and Adam's blog post puts that to bed.

As for WA, I understand that they are not going to rock the boat and that's fine but the decision to wade into this conflict on the side of Bonhams was not a good one.
I would have thought that they had enough bad press about this already. Not sure why WA is helping them double down.

My favorite is the "Gran Old Peel" 1996 vintage that they list as "circa 1950's." I guess Bonhams is taking a longer view than most.

Josh
04-02-2013, 11:45
My favorite is the "Gran Old Peel" 1996 vintage that they list as "circa 1950's." I guess Bonhams is taking a longer view than most.

Yes, that was my favorite too. :slappin:

darylld911
10-13-2013, 15:56
While checking in on the Master Distiller's Unity Bottling, I couldn't help but laugh at this one.

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21015/lot/21/

I've got a "rare 42% MM" (hell - still see them on shelves!). Who in their right mind would pay nearly $400 for what retailed for $50 or $60? Not back in the 60s - we're talking within the past year?? The ORVW can be hard to come by, but really?

darylld911
10-13-2013, 16:45
Master's Unity Bottling sold for $10k (including premiums) - glad to see such amazing proceeds going to fight ALS!

mosugoji64
10-13-2013, 17:11
Master's Unity Bottling sold for $10k (including premiums) - glad to see such amazing proceeds going to fight ALS!

Happy to hear they got a good showing for this one.

theglobalguy
10-13-2013, 18:03
There is some really cool stuff coming across for sale. The decanters alone would have been worth taking a shot...well, until they hit $250+. Maybe i'm better off just spectating and rooting for some SB'ers i hope are in the room.

Wryguy
10-13-2013, 18:06
What about this one? 8 bottles of LE Four Roses for 200-250??!!? Sign me up!



*EDIT - Sold for $952.00.

theglobalguy
10-13-2013, 18:21
What about this one? 8 bottles of LE Four Roses for 200-250??!!? Sign me up!



Yah, went for $800 though...still not too bad a deal if you couldn't find locally.

I am taking wild guess the buyers online are from regions where you cannot find this stuff. Basing that on some astronomical prices earlier on.

Rkkingsley
10-17-2013, 18:52
Got a question regarding the article. The 90 proof BUB I picked up last weekend has a '93 bottle date as well as the phrase "distilled, aged and bottled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery" which the article uses to date the bottle post '99. All of the BUBs that I can find detailed pics of have that phrase (can't find a clear one of the 107 proof version, which would disprove the articles claim outright as it disappeared around '92, right?).

What's the age of my bottle? Thanks for the help guys.

Oh and by the way, it's quite tasty. I opened it with a couple of fellow bourbon philistines the other night.

smknjoe
10-17-2013, 18:59
The answer you are looking for should be in the most recent ETL BOTM thread. I posted some info there when I had a similar question. Also, use google to search the site instead of the built in search function. You will get better results.


Edit: Here it is http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?20596-BOTM-8-13-Elmer-T-Lee-Single-Barrel&p=360621&viewfull=1#post360621

Rkkingsley
10-17-2013, 19:29
The answer you are looking for should be in the most recent ETL BOTM thread. I posted some info there when I had a similar question. Also, use google to search the site instead of the built in search function. You will get better results.


Edit: Here it is http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?20596-BOTM-8-13-Elmer-T-Lee-Single-Barrel&p=360621&viewfull=1#post360621

Thanks x2, Joe. Never thought to use google instead of the in house search. Will give that a shot in the future.

Regarding the BUB, The Ken Weber quote that you linked to states that the proof was lowered in '92 not '99.

smknjoe
10-17-2013, 19:34
I can't remember for sure, but I thought they had both 107 and 90 after 92 and dropped the 107 completely in 99. Just pulling that info out of my hat.


Edit: After reading that link it sure looks like you are right about the proof drop in 92.

Rkkingsley
10-17-2013, 19:56
I can't remember for sure, but I thought they had both 107 and 90 after 92 and dropped the 107 completely in 99. Just pulling that info out of my hat.

Again, Thanks. Getting my facts straight for when I try to sound smart with my buddies.