Auction Record Set for Pappy Van Winkle at Sotheby’s – American Whiskey News



Bottle of 23 Year Old Family Reserve Sells for $52,500,

More than 17x Low Estimate

NEW YORK, 13 December 2022 – This weekend at Sotheby’s in New York, a new auction record was set for Pappy Van Winkle when a bottle of 23 Year Old Family Reserve sold for $52,500 – more than seventeen times the pre-sale estimate (est. $3,000-4,000). Two collectors battled against each other to win the coveted bottle of their dreams, pushing the final sale price ever higher. Released in 2008, the whiskey was presented for sale with its original black velvet bag.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA, said: “It was exciting to be on the rostrum conducting the sale for this record-breaking bottle, which went far beyond anyone’s expectations. The auction marked a remarkable end to a year that has seen prices soar for American whiskey at Sotheby’s.”

All 14 of the individual bottles of Pappy Van Winkle on offer sold for sums in excess of their high estimates, achieving a combined total of $396,250 (est. $31,000-44,000). Individual records were also set for the Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old ($9,375) and 20 Year Old ($27,500).

The lots formed part of Whisky & Whiskey | Seasonal Spirits and The Yamazaki 55, which brought a total of $1,786,625, surpassing pre-sale expectations (est. $885,050 – 1,302,050). This year has seen sales of whisky at Sotheby’s in New York double, from $5.4 million in 2021 to $11.9 million in 2022.

Few names are more significant in the world of American whiskey than that of Julian ‘Pappy’ Van Winkle. Synonymous with enthusiasts, whiskeys bottled under the Van Winkle brand have gone on to become amongst the most highly rated and sought-after, gathering an almost cult-like following. Many of those were distilled at the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery, opened on Derby Day in 1935, which went on to create some of the finest and most sought-after bourbons ever produced before its closure in the early 1990s, with production moving to the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort.

The Old Rip Van Winkle brand was originally created before Prohibition, but it was not until 1972 that it was reintroduced following the repeal. The brand encompasses many of the most highly rated, collectible bourbon and rye whiskeys ever bottled.

About Sotheby’s Wine

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access to and ownership of exceptional art and luxury objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 70 categories which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Design, as well as collectible cars and real estate. Sotheby’s believes in the transformative power of art and culture and is committed to making our industries more inclusive, sustainable and collaborative.

Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits hit a record $132 million in 2021, a 44% increase on 2020. Sotheby’s Wine currently holds the world records for any whisky collection ever sold at auction, any private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most valuable bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most valuable bottle of spirits ever sold at auction.

In addition to auction, Sotheby’s Wine launched a retail business in 2010. With a retail store located in Sotheby’s New York headquarters and e-commerce at, Sotheby’s Wine offers a carefully curated selection of wines from the world’s most prestigious producers and important regions. Expertly assembled by our experienced specialists, the selection is built upon lasting relationships with winemakers from across the globe, with bottles that are ready for immediate consumption, in addition to investment-worthy wines from highly sought-after vintages. A second retail location opened in Sotheby’s Hong Kong galleries in 2014.

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