When Brian Marshall started collecting whisky miniatures and memorabilia in the late 1980s, he never would have predicted eventually owning 4,000 bottles.
And the Kettering man would certainly never have predicted they would eventually sell for almost £30,000 at auction - but that is exactly what has happened.
He doesn't even like the taste of the spirit, which he described as 'horrible', yet began collecting bottles after a colleague's suggestion and ended up planning holidays around them.
But after the Covid lockdown gave him the time to sort through the miniatures, added with a lack of space, the lot went under the hammer in two timed online auctions by Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough.
He thought the collection would make £8,000 at the most - but it sold for an incredible £29,750.
Brian said: "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.
"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 (35th anniversary) bottle might make £200 so to see it go for £340 is fantastic. And as a lifelong Manchester United fan, it was great to see two sets commemorating the 1968 European Cup winners selling for £161 and £130 each.”
The standout lot in part one of the auction, which ended in November, was book ‘The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom’ by Alfred Barnard, which was estimated at £300 and sold for an astonishing £2,280 inclusive of charges.
Part two, which ended on December 12, saw the whisky itself take centre stage. A rare Springbank boxset of four miniatures sold for £1,054, inclusive of charges.
The collection was sourced from all over the world including Australia, Iraq, America and Uruguay.
Brian acquired the vast majority of his collection on the many holidays to Scotland which he planned around his hobby. The decision to sell was prompted by a lack of space when he moved in with his partner and the fact he found time to sort through the collection, which was stored in his garage, when a Covid lockdown left him stuck at home.
Gildings' director and wine, whisky and spirits specialist, Will Gilding, said: “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.
“The 35th anniversary bottling for Private Eye selling for £340 was an eye-watering result, but all of the Macallans in the auction averaged just shy of £150 per bottle.
"As well as the Springbank set, other highlights were a Clynelish 1965 vintage, 25-year-old making £192 and a Talisker 1955 vintage making £161. As is often the way with the single malt whisky market, particular interest was shown in the ever-popular Island distilleries, such as Talisker, Laphraoig, and Port Ellen, alongside the silent distilleries (those that are now closed) like Killyloch from the Lowlands.”
And there is good news for whisky lovers who missed out this time around - 100 lots that remained unsold over the two auctions, including whisky-related ceramics, bar-top items and other short-term collectibles, will be offered early in the new year.