In a remarkable stroke of luck, a 58-year-old whisky aficionado named Fraser stumbled upon a treasure on eBay—an exceedingly rare Macallan 1926 display case worth £138,600, all for the meager sum of under £200.
Fraser, a devoted whisky fan from Speyside, instantly recognized the item as the iconic case that once housed a bottle of Macallan 1926 60 Year Old whisky featuring a label designed by the renowned Valerio Adami. The whisky itself had been distilled from the legendary cask #263.
The original contents of the cask produced a total of 40 bottles, but only 12 of these bottles boasted labels designed by the celebrated Italian painter Valerio Adami, known for his fragmented, abstract artwork. Unfortunately, historical records indicate that at least two of these precious bottles have either been lost or destroyed over time. One was reportedly opened and consumed many years ago, and the other met its fate during a 2011 earthquake in Japan.
As a result, it is believed that there are now only 10 bottles in existence bearing Adami’s distinctive label. In 2020, a Valerio Adami version of the 1926 60 Year Old Macallan sold at auction in Perth for an astonishing £924,000.
Fraser’s fascination with whisky began when his wife presented him with a Macallan Private Eye, marking the beginning of his whisky collection journey. He expressed, “I turned my collecting interests more to merchandise and memorabilia. I had always appreciated the brilliance of Macallan branding and advertising so finding and collecting the treasures from beermats to bridge cards and a study of Albanian shopping malls was a pure joy. There has been much discussion between my wife and I as to what constitutes an obsession, her words, or what is a passion. Let’s just say that I am always on the lookout for something to add to the collection.”
One fateful day, Fraser decided to explore eBay in search of Macallan items, and his jaw dropped when he stumbled upon the exceedingly rare Macallan 1926 case.
He recalled, “When checking eBay one day, I could not believe my own eyes. The first image was a close up of a tiny plaque, inscribed with four numerals: 1926. I knew immediately where the plaque belonged and when I opened the set of images, there it was, attached to ‘The Million Dollar Macallan Box’. The 1926 Adami case was missing the plinth, had a hole bored in the bottom but it was undoubtedly the original home for one of the fabled 1926 Macallan bottles. The invitation to open the bidding was set at £199.”
Fraser won the auction, acquiring the remarkable piece for a mere £199. A decade later, he decided to part with some of his cherished collection and sought the expertise of broker Mark Littler for a valuation.
To his astonishment, Mark Littler, a seasoned industry expert with over a decade of experience, appraised the case at a staggering £138,600.
Mark commented, “This is an incredibly difficult item to value. However, bottles of rare single malt whisky missing their box regularly sell for between 15-30% less than those with their original box at auction. The £138,600 figure is based on 15% of the last bottle of 1926 Valerio Adami that sold (£924,000).
He continued, “I understand that the valuation of the case might raise eyebrows, and it’s important to highlight the distinct nature of rare whisky collecting. The £138,600 price tag, though an undeniably divisive price for a case, reflects the rarity and desirability of the Macallan 1926 60 year old. For the individual who possesses the corresponding Macallan bottle, missing its original case, this box is not just packaging—it’s a vital piece of the whisky’s legacy, rendering it priceless. In this unique market, such elements are key in preserving both the monetary and sentimental value of these rare treasures.”
Mark Littler Ltd, established in 2016 and incorporated in 2018, is now one of the UK’s largest independent consultants and whisky brokers. The company has facilitated the sale of millions of pounds worth of items, ranging from Rolex watches to Micromosaic art and bottles of whisky to entire casks.
Mark further emphasized, “This is the box for the most expensive whisky in the world – it is not the type of bottle you would open and drink so where is the missing bottle that belongs to the case? The eBay seller that Fraser purchased the case from was located in the south coast of England – perhaps it is there? Maybe someone has the bottle by inheritance and is completely unaware of its value. My advice would be to check the labels on any Macallan – you could have a fortune sitting on your shelf.”
The Macallan 1926 60 Year Old Valerio Adami Display Case is currently available for purchase online. To view the listing, click here.