Cheers! Whisky pulled from 120-year-old shipwreck to be sold at auction
A BEVY of whisky pulled from the hold of a 120-year-old shipwreck has surfaced at an auction.
Interestingly, the cap of each bottle has an inscription indicating it was a favourite tipple of King Edward VII, the former Prince of Wales.
The writing reads, ‘Specially Selected Very Old Scotch Whisky Same As Supplied To H.R.H The Prince Of Wales’, a role which Albert Edward occupied between 1841-1901.
The now undrinkable collection was recovered from the wreck of the SS Wallachia, which sank in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, in 1895.
The 260ft steamship left Queen’s Dock, Glasgow, on a voyage to the West Indies with a valuable cargo of gin and whisky.
As Wallachia navigated in thick fog between islands towards the open sea she was rammed in the bows by a Norwegian steamer.
The vessel slipped under the waters of the Clyde and as she became submerged tons of water made contact with her boilers, causing an enormous explosion.
Wallachia settled over 100 ft below sea level.
To reduce the danger to navigation divers cut the tall masts off and the wreck was left lying on the seabed.
She lay forgotten for almost a century until divers investigating a fisherman’s snag rediscovered her in 1980.
Some of the first people to explore the wreck unearthed hundreds of dark green McEwan’s beer bottles as well as a collection of whiskies in the ship’s hold.
The vendor of the items to appear at auction inspected the wreck in 1988 and pulled seven bottles of whisky out as well as a stone flagon and a McEwan’s stout bottle, which will be sold separately.
The keen amateur diver kept the relics in storage at his home until recently, when he decided to sell up.
Each of the bottles is under half full and the liquid inside looks to be badly discoloured.
Auctioneers have warned the alcohol should not be purchased as a beverage as it is ‘not for human consumption’.
The blends are thought to be from Glasgow whisky merchant, Robert Brown, who was established in 1865.
His produce was a household name in the late 19th century and was known to be enjoyed by the Prince of Wales, even being supplied to the Houses of Parliament.
Mr Brown’s export trade saw him ship large quantities overseas.
Elizabeth Dashper, from Sheffield Auction Gallery, which is selling the lots, said: “It would appear the whisky was the same as that supplied to the Prince of Wales.”
“It’s a really interesting story and an unusual item because there is not much at all from that wreck.”
“The lot’s rarity makes it very difficult to apply value to, we’ve never come across anything like it before.”
“We expect significant interest from a variety of buyers, especially collectors of whisky and shipwreck enthusiasts.”
“The fact they are being sold by the diver who recovered them certainly adds to the value.”
“I cannot stress strongly enough that this is not for human consumption.”
The seven bottles of whisky are expected to fetch up to £400 while the stone flagon and bottle of stout are valued at £40.
Both lots will be sold be sold in Sheffield, South Yorks, on September 30.
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