Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Genuine ‘Whisky Galore’ bottles are going to auction

Whisky bottles

There’s not many around, and in terms of authentication, only 8 bottle survive from a total of some 28,000 cases of malt whisky where were on board the 8000-ton cargo ship SS Politician, sailing from Liverpool to the Jamaican capital of Kingston and New Orleans, struck rocks and sank off the shores of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in 1941, spawning the book and the  film Whisky Galore.

The islander efforts to salvage the cargo, and keep the whisky, are now legend, as are the lengths the revenue men went to in order to get it back, since the export had not paid any tax.

The last time such bottles of whisky were sold was in 1987, when eight bottles recovered then by a diver were sold at Christie’s for £4,000.

Two went to a gentleman in Fraserburgh, who has since died:

He died recently and his widow decided to sell them along with the neck tags from Christie’s and letters of authentication.

The official documents from Christie’s state: “Two bottles bottled by W & A Gilbey with original cork and wax sealed by Christie’s in plain glass with shoulder embossing stating, ‘Federal law forbids sale or re-use of this bottle’.”

Via Bottles from Whisky Galore wreck SS Politician to go under hammer | Highlands & Islands | News | STV

Also Bottles from wreck that inspired Whisky Galore auctioned

The auction house estimates the value of the two bottles to be around £2,000, but I have a suspicion the hammer will fall on a larger number (hopefully not to near the bottles!)

A number of small collectible and rare items have been in auctions recently, and if the right people are there on the day, and one really wants the lot, then the number have been getting silly in some cases.

We’ll see – the result should make the news, and I will add the final figure to complete the story.

(Before anyone gripes – No, the bottles shown above are just illustrative stock imagery.)


The auction has taken place and the numbers are in. And it seems that two determined bidders were after this lot, so the original estimate of £2,ooo was left far behind. Perhaps not silly money, but I was right for once.

The bottles made £12,050.

Although it’s unlikely anyone would ever have opened the bottle to have a wee dram, it’s now being suggested that it’s very likely the seals would not have prevented sea water getting into the bottle, and rendering the contents unfit for human consumption.

It seems the auction has led to the news of some more bottles from the wreck, but as has been pointed out, before anyone gets interested, or thinks of another sale, the provenance of these bottles would need to be verified.

Via Whisky bottles from SS Politician fetch more than £12,000 at auction | Highlands & Islands | News | STV


27/04/2013 Posted by | Maritime | , , , , | Leave a comment

Listen to Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell 1904

Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh on March 3, 1847 (d. August 2, 1922) and became an engineer, was regarded as an eminent scientist, innovator, and inventor who was ultimately credited with inventing the first practical telephone.

Together with his family (which was involved with elocution and speech), his research on hearing (both his mother and sister were deaf) and speech eventually led him to being awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876.

Despite attempts by some to discredit Bell, and claims that he stole the idea of the telephone from Elisha Gray, it is a matter of record that Bell’s use of work attributed to Gray took place after his telephone patent had been awarded.

Audio of the famous inventor speaking was discovered on June 20, 2012, and has been placed online, so can now be heard by all:

Listen to Alexander Graham Bell’s Voice | Audio Gallery |

The voice of Alexander Graham Bell has been identified for the first time, in a recording from 1885.

On the wax-disc recording, the telephone inventor says: “Hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.”

The recording is among the earliest held by the Smithsonian Institution, which runs the National Museum of American History.

Bell’s voice was recorded on to the disc on 15 April 1885 at his Volta laboratory in Washington.

Via Phone pioneer speaks for first time in 128 years

In the past, it would simply not have been possible to play the original wax recording and recover the voice it contained.

Being so old, pressure exerted by the needle needed to follow the bumps and grooves recorded in the wax disc would have destroyed it.

However, thanks to some clever software and the use of a 3D camera, it is now possible to use light and image processing to recover the same information without the need to physically touch the fragile surface of the disc, then convert the data into sound, courtesy of clever researchers at the US Library of Congress and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The Smithsonian show how in this short video:

27/04/2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: