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Probably dating from the 18th century, the still, measuring 23in high by 181/2in wide (59 x 47cm), had a capacity of half a gallon – perfect for family consumption – and would have occupied the kitchen of an estate or farm house for this – very probably illegal – purpose.

The invisible copper seamwork which distinguishes the manufacture of the still is known as a ‘Tinker’s Joint’ – a technique which has been passed down generations of travelling folk on the Scottish West Coast, but has fallen out of use.

The still had been found in the ceiling void of a Victorian house on the shores of Holy Loch, the first example that auctioneer Martin Green had seen come under the hammer.

This was home-brewing at its most sophisticated, and still capable of
producing whisky, but it was bound for the museum of a major distillery, a representative bidding £2100 for it.

Elsewhere in the sale the
auctioneers claimed a record price for a bottle of whisky when they sold a 60-year-old Macallan – the oldest known single malt in the world – at £15,000. A bottle of the same fine liquor sold at Christie’s in 1996
bringing a then-record bid of £13,200.