Family of deceased businessman sell 400 bottles of incredible liquor collection for £ 61,000
An impressive collection of hundreds of bottles of spirits collected by a businessman sold for £ 61,000 after his death.
Clarence West, 79, began collecting bottles in 1971 after deciding to build a bar in the corner of his dining room, although he was not a heavy drinker himself.
Over the next 50 years, the father of four from Gravesend, Kent, expanded his collection to around 600 bottles, including whiskey, cognac, rum, gin, vodka and brandy.
After his death last year, Mr West’s family sold 400 of the bottles for £ 61,000 through the whiskey auction.
Clarence West pictured in the 1970s with his impressive collection of spirits, which recently sold for £ 61,000 at auction
While Mr. West would have been delighted with the outcome, he never expected to make any money from his bottles, his wife Rita says.
Ms West said: “In 1970 we had an extension built to build a bar and the first bottle he bought was in 1971. It only got worse from there.
“I don’t know why he really started. We thought we had a bar in the corner of the dining room and I said why not build an extension.
“He also collected cigarettes and matchboxes. It used to sound nice. ‘
Mr. West began collecting bottles in 1971 after deciding to build a bar in the corner of his dining room, although he rarely drinks himself.
Mr. West kept a meticulous record of what bottles were in his collection and what was missing.
His wife said, “He didn’t drink. It was a passion. He had clients who, when they went abroad, brought in something. He had a book that listed what he had. When they went overseas, they bought back something he didn’t have.
“He tagged them all too. He had no other hobbies and that just made the room enjoyable.
“He just loved it. He had a guest book that people would sign. No member of the collection was touched, but people would come for a drink if we had had a party years ago.
Over the next 50 years, Mr. West expanded his collection to around 600 bottles, including whiskey, cognac, rum, gin, vodka and brandy.
Mr. West kept a meticulous catalog of his drink collection in a small notebook, including when the drinks were purchased and how much he paid for them.
Most of the bottles have not been opened and are kept in perfect condition, which is why the family was able to sell them.
They were all cataloged in a small notebook detailing the date of purchase and the original price, usually only a few books.
Although the sale of Mr. West’s collection has proven difficult, his family is thrilled with the end result.
The most valuable bottles include a 10-year-old Laphroaig whiskey bottled in the 1970s, which sold for £ 2,000.
A 1957 Macallan was also sold for £ 1,900 and a Caroni 90 Proof Extra Strength Navy Rum which sold for £ 1,800.
Mr West’s family contacted the Whiskey Auction beverage auctioneers after his death last year at the age of 79
Most of his collection has been sold to a museum in Singapore, where it will be on display along with a photograph of Mr. West.
Ms West, who describes her husband as a “great character,” said: “Everyone loved him. He was a wonderful father of four sons – Stephen, Tony, Richard and Jason. He was a very good guy and he helped a lot of people.
Mr West started his career as a coal merchant before becoming a Calor gas merchant and then opening a store – EKP in Northfleet High Street – selling caravan accessories and power tools.
He eventually moved the store to Parrock Street with his son, before taking a step back from the business, although he never really retired and continued to keep books until six weeks before. his death.
Ms West said: “He’s always been a businessman,” Rita added. His mind never stopped with business. “He could never do nothing – he always likes to keep his mind active.”
Part of the collection, around 400 bottles, has now sold for £ 61,000, much to the family’s surprise
But she said collecting drinks was a separate part of her life.
“He knew what he paid for it and he knew its value would increase, but we didn’t expect it to be that high,” she said. “He didn’t do it for that – it was just a hobby.
“When he passed away, we knew it should go away. It was lockdown so we couldn’t get in touch with anyone to watch it.
“It was a bit of a shock when we found out the full amount. I could not believe it. I thought he left us a little more than we expected.
‘He would have been in his element if he had known.’
Ms West said her family have yet to decide what to do with the proceeds from the drive, but are planning to have fun with it.
She added, “He had a good life. We all had a good life with him too.