Kettering whisky collector sells 4,000-bottle collection for £30,000

Brian Marshall with some of the 4,000 bottles in his whisky collection.
Copyright: Gildings Auctioneers
Brian Marshall with some of the 4,000 bottles in his whisky collection. Credit: Gildings Auctioneers

A collector who admits he dislikes the taste of whisky has auctioned off his collection of more than 4,000 bottles for nearly £30,000.

Brian Marshall from Kettering in Northamptonshire began amassing the miniatures in the 1980s and been adding to the collection ever since, with varieties from all over the world.

For 30 years, he has planned his holidays around his passion, taking regular trips to Scotland to buy rare or unusual varieties, and sourcing others from Australia, Iraq, America and Uruguay.

But despite his dedication, he said had not been tempted to trial them himself, and admitted: "I don't like the taste of whisky."

The collection, which was sold in an online auction, also included whisky-related memorabilia, such as Alfred Barnard's book The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, which sold for £2,280. In total, the collection went for £29,750.

Some of the 4,000 miniatures in Brian Marshall's whisky collection. Credit: Gildings Auctioneers

“I’m delighted that my bottles have now gone on to new collectors and I hope they will enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed collecting them,” said Mr Marshall.

The decision to sell was prompted by a lack of space when he moved in with his partner and the fact he had been able to sort through the collection - previously stored in his garage - during lockdown. 

Rare whiskies from Macallan attracted fierce bidding during the auction, with one miniature which marked the 35th anniversary of Private Eye magazine going under the hammer for £340, and a rare Springbank boxset of four miniatures selling for £1,054.

Mr Marshall said: "I thought the entire collection would make £7,000 to £8,000 at the very most, so this is a very pleasant Christmas bonus! In particular I thought the Private Eye bottle might make £200 so to see it go for £340 is fantastic.

Rarities from Macallan were in demand at the auction Credit: GIldings Auctioneers

"And as a lifelong Manchester United fan, it was great to see two sets commemorating the 1968 European Cup winners selling for £160 and £130 each.”

Gildings Auctioneers, which held the sale, said the market for whisky was currently very strong, driven by interest from China and Hong Kong, and young professionals looking at purchases as an investment.

“Brian’s incredible collection really did offer a unique opportunity for collectors, and we’re delighted to have achieved such a great result for him,” said director Will Gilding, the Market Harborough-based auction house's wine, whisky and spirits specialist.

"Brian’s own expectation of the value of his whisky collection is truly indicative as to how rapidly the market has changed over the last five years or so.

"Rare single malt whiskies are continuing the upward trend that we have witnessed over that time, as shown in these two remarkable auctions."

Around 100 lots belonging to Mr Marshall remain unsold and will be offered again in the new year.