That's The Spirit

13th August 2018

When most of us think about spirits, we associate it with that brown, often peaty, spirit served on the rocks known as whisky. Nearly ninety years ago the word spirit conjured up another meaning: that of premium motor spirit, which powered early automotive combustion engines. When petrol rationing was introduced during World War II in 1939, the ration cards called it “Motor Spirit”.

One recent vendor, when clearing a garage, came across a petrol pump globe advertising Scotch Motor Spirit which probably dated from the 1920s or 30s, when the British term “petrol” had vanished from the language. Despite it having some nibbling to the foot and some of the paint was rubbed it created quite a stir when it came under the hammer at Thomson Roddick’s Collectors’ sale in Edinburgh.

One couple who had driven through the night from London, who are keen collectors of petrol pump globes stayed with the bidding but finally lost out to an online rival who secured the globe at £5000. Another similar globe for Scotch Motor Spirit with significant damage realised £600.

If spirits for drinking is more your taste, there is still strong demand for rare and unusual whisky. There was an offering of 42 lots which had a bottle of Glengoyne 1969 which made £270.  In a previous sale three bottles of 13 year old Bladnoch and three ten year old Laphroaig fetched  £3,100. A single bottle of Rosebank 1967 26 year old Lowland single malt Scotch whisky distilled on the 28th November 1967 and bottled in March 1994, number 37/250, fetched £1,200.