A COLLECTION of 2,500 miniature single malt whisky bottles, many rare and old, are being put up for auction by a Kendal businessman.

Experts from 1818 Auctioneers, tasked with the job of cataloguing, photographing and selling them, conservatively expect the unique collection to make between £20,000 to £30,000. The live online auction ends on January 30.

“Not one is a duplicate and they include some very rare examples. We’ve split them into around 300 lots, ranging in value from £50 to £300,” said valuer David Hunter.

“It’s been a privilege for us to handle them and to learn about them from their owner, Keith Young. It’s an incredible collection and a history of Scottish whisky in miniature."

Keith’s interest in miniature whisky began when he was first given one to display by his grandfather.

Keith, who is the managing director of Grosvenor House Papers Limited and Papermilldirect, says he built up his collection over a 20 year period, ending in 2000.

Keith says many miniatures were purchased from the UK miniature bottle club, who met each year in Blackpool for their AGM, as well as specialist whisky shops he found when travelling for work.

He said: “Miniatures are a very affordable way to buy and try whisky. They are also easy to collect although research, pre-internet days, was a lot harder. I recorded each one on a spreadsheet so I knew exactly where the gaps where and then enjoyed exploring whisky shops to find the ones I hadn’t got.

“They were on display in my office, in cabinets and on shelves above the panelling. I am selling now whilst I am around to explain the collection and to ensure they're not overlooked.”

They are mostly single malts, including an extremely rare, limited edition, 1966 vintage Laphroaig from independent bottler Signatory. The miniature is estimated to make between £200-£300.

“We expect a great deal of interest from collectors and drinkers,” said valuer Ken Payne.

“Both value the fact that each miniature tells a story of the liquid and the distillery. And that a miniature is cheaper by the measure, particularly when some bottles can cost thousands of pounds."

The sale coincides with Burns Night when whisky is drunk to celebrate the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

For more information about the sale, visit: https://www.1818auctioneers.co.uk/ or call David Hunter on 015395 66201.