Collection of 6,000 Scottish whisky miniatures up for auction

The whisky miniatures going up for auction number in their thousands
The whisky miniatures going up for auction number in their thousands
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A dedicated whisky fan is auctioning off his unique collection of 6,000 unopened miniatures to create more space in his home.

Alex Barclay, 68, originally from Banff who now lives in Worcester, believes he has spent around £30,000 on whisky miniatures over the past 40 years but never opened a single one.

“I decided to collect at least one bottle from each distillery I visited and from there I expanded the collection,” Mr Barclay said.

Most of the collection will go under the hammer in five separate auctions, with a £1 reserve price on each one.

“At its peak I had upwards of 6,000 bottles that have all remained sealed and unopened throughout the years, so buyers will be receiving full bottles,” he said.

The miniatures fill a room in his house, but he has decided to clear some space for when his grandchildren come to visit.

It took auctioneers five hours to carefully pick the bottles off the shelves and pack them in to 45 plastic tubs.

The vast collection including Irish, American, Japanese and Taiwanese whiskeys, is thought to be one of the largest in the world.

Mr Barclay, who is president of the Mini Bottle Club, has been collecting since 1974 and says his father shaped his lifelong passion.

He said: “I received a small whisky book from my father after moving to Birmingham in 1972 and I really liked the look of the miniatures.

“I didn’t keep track of how much was spent on the minis since pursuing the hobby and even if I had to begin with, I would have certainly lost track.

“However, I’d say that each bottle would average at around £5 making a total of £30,000 – at least.”

He added: “I had been thinking about selling for a long time and there were a lot of reasons for this.

“It took up a lot of space as I had one whole room for them alone and since the grandchildren arrived, my wife and I have wanted to convert this into a spare bedroom for them.

“I also used to do a lot of whisky trading with collectors from around the globe but a change in our postal system about three or four years ago meant I could no longer do this, so the fun then went out of it as well.”

Despite parting with much of his collection, Mr Barclay will be holding on to some of his most prized possessions.“I have decided to keep one bottle from each of my collections.”