A bottle of Macallan 64-year-old scotch, housed within a Lalique crystal decanter, far exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $100,000-with a winning bid of $460,000-at Sotheby's in New York, this week.
With all proceeds of the sale going to benefit charity: water, the one-of-a-kind bottle, made by Lalique using the cire perdue ("lost wax") method, did a multi-city charity tour before the final event in New York. Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, spoke before the auction of the idealism behind his organization and the impact that the evening's sale would have on helping to bring clean water to communities in developing countries. He then handed the microphone off to Sotheby's Head of Wine in the US and Asia, Jamie Ritchie, to perform the auctioneer duties.
A gentleman in the crowd eagerly placed the opening bid, sparking a cascading ping-pong of responses from around the room. Bidding quickly passed the $300,000 mark, with phone bidders setting the tone, outpacing most on-hand. Ritchie kept the mood light, cracking an "Only $5?!" joke when a Sotheby's rep asked if he would accept an increase of $5,000 from a potential buyer on the phone. Reminding everyone that the evening's sale would support a good cause, Ritchie broke the $400,000 barrier to a delighted response of the crowd. With everyone's mind wondering if the lot would reach the half-million mark, bidding slowed around $450,000 before finally settling on $460,000. Giving everyone one last chance, Ritchie brought the gavel down to mark the record sale to an anonymous US bidder.