Two bottles of single malt whisky, salvaged from the wreck of the SS Politician - a shipping catastrophe that would go on to inspire Whisky Galore, the 1947 novel by Compton Macenzie that was adapted for the silver screen in 1949 - brought £12,050 ($18,741) to Scotch Whisky Auctions on May 5.
Estimated to be worth just £2,000, the two bottles of whisky, which were recovered from the shipwreck off the coast of the island of Eriskay by local man Douglas MacPhee, sold with an impressive 502.5% increase on estimate. Auctioneer Bill Macintosh revealed that "there were two very determined bidders".
As the whisky is believed to undrinkable, the value of these relics can be understood in collectible terms; their sale provided collectors with a rare opportunity to own a piece of Scottish history.
As Bill Macintosh, director of Scotch Whisky Auctions, comments: "The suggestion has been that the original seals may not have been as strong as thought. Sea water would have gotten in. But the real value is not in the drink itself."
The two bottles were part of the cargo aboard the SS Politician, an 8,000 tonne ship bound for Kingston, Jamaica. The colossal freighter sunk off the coast of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in 1941. Following the wreckage, the island's inhabitants salvaged much of the whisky onboard.
"Everybody loves the idea of wily islanders diving to the bottom of the wreck and coming back up with bottles of whisky which they would hide from customs," Macintosh said before the sale.
The bottles, which previously brought £4,000 ($6,180) to Christie's London, are two of eight that have been authenticated recently. However, Macintosh revealed that following the sale, another collector claimed to possess two more bottles from the same dive.
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