Intent on owning a keepsake connected with the 16th president and her family heritage, Jo-Ann Bland Myers arrived at an auction at Boundary Oak Distillery with a purpose.
“I came to buy,” she said.
During the auction Wednesday for the first bottle of Lincoln wheated whiskey, her interest quickly became obvious.
As fellow bidders huddled to discuss strategy during the pleadings from Hodges Auction Co. auctioneer Mark Haynes, Myers showed no indecision. With each competitive bid, she immediately extended her arm into the air to top it.
In fact, she didn’t stop after her winning bid of $25,000.
To ensure the bottle set a record as the most expensive liquor ever sold in America, the final bidders agreed to reopen the sale. They pushed the price to $25,550 – $50 above the winning bid recorded in 2014 for the right to purchase Bottle 1 from Batch 1 of Boundary Oak’s first bourbon.
After the sale, Myers explained her connection to Abraham Lincoln to the audience of about 50 on hand for the live bidding in Radcliff.
She can trace her family line to Captain Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Bathsheba, who were grandparents of the president born in 1809 in a log cabin near Hodgenville.
The museum staged the auction after being presented the first bottle by Brent Goodin, master distiller of Boundary Oak. The cork, which is topped with an uncirculated penny minted in honor of the Lincoln bicentennial in 2009, contains a piece of one of the final slivers of a white oak tree which served as a boundary marker on the Lincoln birthplace property.
Proceeds will go to help the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville retire its debt.
Since its establishment 30 years ago, the museum’s all-volunteer board has acquired one quadrant of Lincoln Square and created life-size dioramas depicting scenes from the Great Emancipator’s life. The buildings also house an adjoining gift shop, art gallery and the Lincoln library plus the community room available for local events.
Myers, a Magnolia resident, plans to preserve the bottle and its cabinet and enjoy owning the unique keepsake.
But one day, she expects the whiskey to take a place in the museum exhibit area. She plans to leave it to the museum in her estate.
In addition to a reception before the auction, the program included David Dunaway of the Stephen Foster Story cast leading the group in “My Old Kentucky Home” and a speech in character from Jim Sayre of Lawrenceburg, a noted Abraham Lincoln presenter.
“I’m so thrilled. Jo-Ann and Gil are such good people,” said Iris LaRue, director of the museum. “I appreciate everybody’s effort. This was just a great experience.”