3 min read

Pieces of Eight: £16m? Dram That's Expensive, The Market for Darwin Evolves and a Creamy Mona Lisa.

Pieces of Eight: £16m? Dram That's Expensive, The Market for Darwin Evolves and a Creamy Mona Lisa.

🥃 A rare cask of single malt whisky has been sold by a Scottish distillery for a record £16m.  Ardbeg said "Cask No. 3" was bought by an unnamed female collector based in Asia through a private sale. Experts said the sale had surpassed all auction records for a cask of single malt.

"That [£16m sale] is a reflection of generations of hard work: from those in the stillhouse who craft our smoky spirit, to the warehouse staff who care for our casks over decades, to teams around the world who build the reputation of our whiskies with fans, bartenders and collectors." - Thomas Moradpour, Ardbeg CEO

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Our Take: Exception is often taken to the mind blowing fees commanded by the most sought after items in categories such as Whiskey, but in this case an entire community will benefit. Ardbeg have confirmed their intent to donate £1m of the profits to causes within the local community. He credits that community for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat for the iconic distillery, taking it from near extinction to a world renowned and much sought after brand.

🌳 A copy of the Linnean Society Journal, known to be the first The first printed exposition of the theory of evolution by natural selection has sold for an astonishing £315k at auction - approximately 12 times the upper estimate!

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Our Take: The Linnean journal is a key element of the story of Darwin as well as the theory of evolution. Darwin set sail on the Beagle in 1831 and by 1838 is said to have conjured his theory of evolution based on the empirical evidence gathered during the expedition. However, it wasn't until 1858 that Darwin took the theory public. Wallace, allegedly in the grip of Malaria, contacted Darwin having arrived at the same conclusion regarding natural selection. Upon the advice of colleagues and friends Darwin penned a joint article with Wallace, essentially laying claim to the theory ahead of the release of what would become - The Origin of Species.

🖼. Last month, a man disguised as an older woman sitting in a wheelchair brazenly smeared cream pastry onto Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work, the Mona Lisa.  As the cake-smearing culprit was being led away by Louvre security guards he said “There are people who are destroying the Earth. Think about it … all artists, think about the Earth — this is why I did this. Think about the planet.” Although it resulted in no permanent damage, the Louvre attack dramatically brought to light the relationship between art, the art industry and the environment.

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Our Take: Like any industry, Art and Collectables have a role to play in reducing our carbon footprint and it isn't restricted to raising awareness. From flights to auction houses and transporting assets back and forth to NFTs using the resource devouring blockchain to track authenticity and ownership, the Art World is far from an innocent bystander. With this in mind Showpiece elected to use Amazon's QLDB as opposed to Blockchain as a server-less system is considerably more environmentally friendly.

🎨 For Showpiece number three, we've offered collectors an incredible world first opportunity to own part of the original masterpiece and a Warhol Foundation approved edition replica to proudly display at home.  A scannable 'Showpiece Crystal Plinth' links the physical item directly to your digital ownership.


That's it for this week, thanks as always for reading and if you have any comments please get in touch via hello@showpiece.com.

The Showpiece Team