New Chicago auction house opens

New Chicago auction house opens News Wine News
  • Monday 16 July 2001

A new Chicago auction house, Edward Roberts International Ltd, began operations on Sunday.

Named after Edward Robert Brooks, its director, the company will deal only in rare and fine wines. It will hold its auctions in Chicago, and will open a London office for European operations.

The first auction will be held on 10 November this year at the Union League Club in Chicago. The book will include an 1874 Lafite-Rothschild reconditioned by the château, a 1900 Château Margaux from Nicolas in Paris, mature Burgundy and California cult wines.

Brooks was, most recently, director of the North American wine department of Phillips Auctioneers, based in St. Louis, Missouri. Before that, he held a comparable post at Christie's in Manhattan for about a year.

Phillips's brief venture into North American wine sales – first in Manhattan with the carriage-trade Park Avenue Liquor Shop and later independently in St. Louis – is finished.

Brooks said in a press release that Edward Roberts International consisted of a team of professionals 'with over 40 cumulative years of experience in the wine trade and auction business,' but he declined to identify any of them.

The buyer's premium will be 15%. The vendor fee will be based on a sliding scale starting at 15% and will be negotiated from there 'depending on the quality and value of the consigment,' Brooks said. There are no immediate plans for online real-time participation in auctions.

The house will serve private customers and the wine trade. It will offer 'curatorial, appraisal and private consultation services to individuals and institutions' and will work with 'estates departments of regional auction houses' unable to offer wine expertise to customers, Brooks said.

In Chicago, Edward Roberts International will compete for Midwestern consignments with Sotheby's, the Chicago Wine Company, and, indirectly, Butterfields of San Francisco and Los Angeles, whose Chicago office no longer holds wine sales.

Edward Roberts International, Chicago +1 877 726 9463; www.eriwine.com (under construction); ebrooks@eriwine.com

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