Saturday, August 18, 2007

New York Legalizes Spirits Auctions

Here's good news for all the people who want to know what some liquid treasure they pried from their grandfather's dead hands is really worth.

New York law now permits permits auction houses, such as Christie's, to auction rare distilled spirits.

Christie’s, in fact, immediately announced its plans to hold in December the first liquor auction in New York since Prohibition began in 1920.

"We are currently accepting consignments of vintage cognac, armagnac, Scottish, Irish and American whiskies, bourbon and other traditional spirits," said Richard Brierley, Head of Christie’s Americas Wine Sales.

The Distilled Spirits Council estimates that millions of dollars in exclusive spirits sales have been lost to London, Paris, Glasgow and other auction centers around the globe because spirits auctions have been against the law in New York, costing the state large amounts in lost sales taxes.

The new law also allows spirits tastings at the auctions, just as is already allowed for wine auctions. Nationally, seventeen states permit wine auctions, but New York becomes only the eighth state to authorize spirits auctions.

This will be interesting to follow. Obviously, Christie's won't be handling the type of thing that makes up most of the traffic on eBay, but it will be interesting to see how this develops and what, if anything, made-in-the-USA even gets on the board.

Anyone out there with a big bunker who's ready to cash-in?

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