New York auction house Morrell & Company is to sell a single, US$8m cellar which it says 'represents the world's largest single-owner collection of Bordeaux' ever to go to auction.

Morrell, based in Manhattan, put the value of the 23,168-bottle collection at US$8 million, and said that the sale would consist of 2,400 lots.

The sale will take place at the Four Seasons Restaurant on 20 and 21 September. The owner of the cellar was not identified.

Morrell’s managing director Nikos Antonakeas said, ‘I have watched this cellar being built over the last seven to 10 years with patience and perseverance. Smart acquisitions and focus on quality and diversity made this collection a unique treasure.’

Antonakeas said when he went to bid on the collection, he found it ‘lying inside a bank vault.’ It is, he said, ‘without a doubt, the finest collection of Bordeaux I have ever seen.’ It consists ‘only of the best chateaux from the best vintages.’

The sale was announced at a Four Seasons lunch, and Morrell’s guests were given a rundown on cellar statistics: 1,183 bottles of Cheval Blanc, 652 of Ducru-Beaucaillou, 1,634 of Haut-Brion, 1,915 of Lafite-Rothschild, 1,440 of Latour, 1,371 of Margaux, 2,212 of Mouton-Rothschild, 1,998 of Pétrus, 768 of Pichon-Lalande, 211 of Yquem.

Morrell said the highlights included a jeroboam of 1959 Latour, an imperial of 1945 Leoville-Poyferré, a jeroboam of 1959 Mouton-Rothschild, a magnum of 1945 Pétrus, a jeroboam of 1949 Cheval-Blanc, an imperial of 1982 Petrus and a jeroboam of 1961 Pétrus.

‘The provenance of these wines is excellent,’ the auction house said. ‘The bottles are in near-perfection condition.’

Many were purchased directly from chateaux, and others were acquired from large private collections in America, it said.

Morrell also announced a zero per cent sellers’ commission for all future consignments. Previously it had charged 15%.

The buyer’s premium is remaining at 15%. Acker, Merrall & Condit, a Manhattan-based competitor, also charges a zero per cent seller’s commission.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York17 July 2002