eBay shopper discovers rare $385 purchase is worth $265k

The man was in disbelief when he discovered the incredibly rare Macallan whisky find.

A man has struck gold after discovering a rare whisky display case he purchased for just $385 on eBay is worth a whopping $265,000.

Fraser, a 58-year-old whisky fan, was recently stunned to discover the value of the item that he bought around 10 years ago. Scrolling through the online marketplace eBay, Fraser said he was in disbelief when he spotted the incredibly rare Macallan 1926 case. The case was once home to a bottle of Macallan 1926 60-year-old whisky with a label designed by Valerio Adami.

Valuer Mark Littler holding the valuable whisky case. Source: Jam Press
Valuer Mark Littler holding the valuable whisky case. Source: Jam Press

“When checking eBay one day, I could not believe my own eyes. The first image was a close-up of a tiny plaque, inscribed with four numerals: 1926,” the window salesman recalled.

“I knew immediately where the plaque belonged and when I opened the set of images, there it was, attached to ‘The Million Dollar Macallan Box’.

The invitation to open the bidding was set at £199, which is $385 in Australian dollars. Fraser went on to win the item for that price.

The prized 1926 Adami case

The 1926 Adami case was missing the plinth and had a hole bored in the bottom but it was undoubtedly the original home for one of the fabled 1926 Macallan bottles.

The whisky for the bottle came from the legendary cask #263. The contents of the cask filled 40 bottles in total - but just 12 of these bear labels designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami who is famed for his fragmented, abstract paintings.

However, records suggest at least two of these bottles have been lost or destroyed. One was reportedly opened and drunk many years ago, and another was broken during a 2011 earthquake in Japan.

As a result of these incidents, there are thought to be only 10 of the bottles bearing Adami’s label remaining.

Fraser, from Speyside, Scotland, first became interested in the tipple after receiving a gift from his wife. After a while, he began collecting items in connection with the iconic Macallan brand.

The extremely rare whisky box has been valued at $265,000. Source: Jam Press
The extremely rare whisky box has been valued at $265,000. Source: Jam Press

“I had always appreciated the brilliance of Macallan branding and advertising so finding and collecting the treasures from beermats to bridge cards and a study of Albanian shopping malls was a pure joy,” he said.

Item 'difficult' to put a value on

10 years after first purchasing the eBay bargain, Fraser decided it was time to sell some of his collection he decided to get in touch with broker Mark Littler to get a valuation.

He was shocked to discover that Mark Littler, an industry expert with over a decade's experience in the industry, valued the case at £ 138,600 GBP, which converts to around $265,000 in Australia.

“This is an incredibly difficult item to value,” Mark admitted. However, bottles of rare single malt whisky missing their box regularly sell for between 15-30% less than those with their original box at auction.

The £138,600 figure is based on 15% of the last bottle of 1926 Valerio Adami that sold in 2020, for £924,000.

“I understand that the valuation of the case might raise eyebrows, and it's important to highlight the distinct nature of rare whisky collecting. The £138,600 price tag, though an undeniably divisive price for a case, reflects the rarity and desirability of the Macallan 1926 60-year-old.”

“For the individual who possesses the corresponding Macallan bottle, missing its original case, this box is not just packaging—it's a vital piece of the whisky's legacy, rendering it priceless.

“In this unique market, such elements are key in preserving both the monetary and sentimental value of these rare treasures.”

- Jam press

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