Sotheby's takes $3m in record-breaking single-cellar sale

Sotheby's takes $3m in record-breaking single-cellar sale News Wine News
  • Tuesday 25 November 2003

Aulden Cellars/Sotheby’s last week took over US$3m in a record-smashing auction of a one-family cellar.

Serena Sutcliffe MW, the London-based international head of Sotheby’s wine department, called this ‘my cellar of dreams’. She said it was one of the greatest encountered in her Sotheby’s career.

Amassed over 30 years, the cellar belonged to the family of Dr K William Harter, professor of radiation oncology at the Georgetown University Medical Center and chief of medical services for radiation oncology at Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center, in the Washington DC area.

The sale grossed US$3,080,997. Sotheby’s set a world record by selling six bottles of 1945 Mouton-Rothschild (estimated at US$20,000-$US30,000) at US$70,500. Another record was set when a case of 1961 Château Lafleur (US$30,000-US$40,000) fetched $73,438.

The cellar had almost 700 half bottles, regular bottles, magnums, double magnums, jeroboams and impériales of La Mission-Haut-Brion. A 1947 case went for US$16,450; a 1961 case attracted $19,388; three 1949 magnums went for US$13,512.

As for Burgundy, a magnum of 1985 Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti went for US$12,337, and a case of 1985 La Tâche, DRC hammered home at US$18,212.

Six bottles of Henri Jayer’s 1985 Richebourg grossed $35,250. Ten bottles of 1990 Montrachet, DRC found US$12,337, ten 1989 Lafon Montrachets went for US$10,575.

The story continued with Rhônes, with JL Chave’s 1990 Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin going for $US9,400 - double the estimate.

Jamie Ritchie, the department’s senior vice president said, ‘While it may not have the scale of the Millennium Wine Cellar (1999), nor the celebrity status of the Andrew Lloyd Webber sale (1997), we believe this is the greatest collection we have offered worldwide since 1990.’

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