Acker Merrall & Condit is kicking off its 2006 bricks-and-mortar auctions with a US$10m cellar.

John Kapon, president and auction director, bills the hoard as coming from ‘the greatest collection in America.’ Its owner, Kapon said, ‘is not interested in being in the spotlight or known.’

The 1,792-lot consignment, which Acker values at US$7.61m to US$10.18m, will be sold on 27-28 January.

This will be Manhattan-based Acker’s first single-cellar offering and potentially highest grossing sale since it held its first independent auction, in 1998.

Acker’s catalogue is strong on red and white Burgundy. In an introduction, Allen Meadows, the Burgundy expert known as Burghound, writes that it contains ‘genuinely amazing esoterica’ and ‘any number of rarities known only to the most knowledgeable of connoisseurs.’

A case of Armand Rousseau 1962 Chambertin is estimated at US$50,000-US$70,000 and a dozen bottles of Rousseau’s 1959 Chambertin at US$35,000-US$45,000. A bottle of Georges Roumier’s 1929 Bonnes Mares carries a US$6,000-US$8,000 tag.

A magnum of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 1971 Montrachet is offered at US$5,000-US$7,000. Two magnums of Ramonet’s 1986 Montrachet carry a US$7,000-US$9,000 price.

A case of 1947 Château Lafleur is offered at US$60,000-US$80,000. Three bottles of 1921 Lafleur are offered at US$24,000-US$30,000.

Acker feels so confident of the cellar’s condition that it is offering an unusual money-back guarantee for any unopened bottles until 90 days after the sale.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York