Interestingly, the cap of each bottle has an inscription indicating it was a favourite tipple of King Edward VII, the former Prince of Wales. The writing reads, ‘Specially Selected Very Old Scotch Whisky Same As Supplied To H.R.H The Prince Of Wales’, a role which Albert Edward occupied between 1841-1901.
The now undrinkable collection was recovered from the wreck of the SS Wallachia, which sank in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, in 1895. The 260ft steamship left Queen’s Dock, Glasgow, on a voyage to the West Indies with a valuable cargo of gin and whisky.
The vessel slipped under the waters of the Clyde and as she became submerged tons of water made contact with her boilers, causing an enormous explosion. Wallachia settled over 100ft below sea level. To reduce the danger to navigation divers cut the tall masts off and the wreck was left lying on the seabed. She lay forgotten for almost a century until divers investigating a fisherman’s snag rediscovered her in 1980.
Some of the first people to explore the wreck unearthed hundreds of dark green McEwan’s beer bottles as well as a collection of whiskies in the ship’s hold.
The vendor of the items to appear at auction inspected the wreck in 1988 and pulled seven bottles of whisky out as well as a stone flagon and a McEwan’s stout bottle, which will be sold separately.
The keen amateur diver kept the relics in storage at his home until recently, when he decided to sell up.