Bottles from Whisky Galore ship SS Politician sell for £12,050 at auction

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WHISKY bottles from the ship which inspired the film Whisky Galore have sold for more than £12,000 – though the buyer can’t drink a single dram.

The two bottles were part of the cargo on the SS Politician, which sank off the shores of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in 1941.

But sea water may have broken through the seals of the bottles during their decades spent underwater, and the drink is now thought to be unfit for human consumption.

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The bottles were snapped up by a UK bidder

 

That didn’t stop a bidder snapping them up for £12,050 at auction website Scotch Whisky Auctions after a bidding war at the weekend.

The website has now said another whisky collector has come forward, claiming to have more bottles from the SS Politician ready to go under the hammer.

An Ealing comedy film and a novel by Compton Mackenzie were both made about the incident, where wily islanders recovering whisky bottles from the wreck and hid them from customs officers.

The 8,000-ton cargo ship had been bound for Jamaica and New Orleans with 28,000 cases of whisky aboard.

In 1987, South Uist diver Donald McPhee made another trip to the underwater wreckage and brought up eight bottles of whisky.

The two which have now gone on auction were among these eight, after Mr McPhee’s haul first fetched £4,000 when they went under the hammer at a Christie’s auction.

Bill Mackintosh, director of Scotch Whisky Auctions, said the new buyer would be unlikely to sample the spirit.

 

Determined

He said: “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 the drink itself.

“I’m delighted with how much it raised. With an auction you can’t really tell how hight it will go.

“But there were two very determined bidders.”

Whisky collectors from as far as China made bids from the bottles, but in the end a UK-based collector clinched the drink when bidding closed on Sunday, Mr Mackintosh said.

He said another collector claimed to have two more bottles from the same dive: “Someone phoned and said I have two bottles I would like to auction.

“He bought them at the same sale at Christie’s.”

The provenance of the new bottles would be checked before they would again go under the hammer, Mr Mackintosh added.

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