Bloomsbury Auctions is to hold its first ever wine auction in New York on 19 June.

Best known as a specialist in rare books and fine art, Bloomsbury – which opened in London in 1983 and New York, in 2007 – is collaborating with fine wine merchant Sokolin.

They hope a 17% buyer’s premium (lower than that of the other major wine auctioneers) and other unique features will lure clients to their 778-lot sale despite the economy.

‘A good book and a good bottle of wine go so well together,’ said Bernard Frelat, Bloombury’s US CEO.

‘As a lifestyle product, wine is a natural complement to our existing expertise – and there are some great buying opportunities right now.’

Bloombury is offering a money-back guarantee on wine that is damaged or doesn’t match the photos – which can be magnified to highlight detail – on its website. (The definition of damaged includes ‘cooked’ but not corked wine.)

‘Catalogue descriptions are highly subjective, but no auction house has ever provided photos of every bottle in a sale. This is a no-brainer – though it really should be standard,’ said David Sokolin, president of Sokolin.

‘If I said I was wearing a soiled shirt and a slightly torn pair of trousers, my perception could be a lot different from yours. A good photo eliminates all surprises.’

After authentication by Sokolin, each bottle is affixed with a non-reusable holographic security sticker, providing traceable provenance for any future sale.

Along with many good vintage Bordeaux first growths, the sale includes over 200 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée Conti including 1959; 1964 and 1996 Romanée Conti; 1990 La Tache; and a six-pack of 1985 Sassicaia.

Bloombury’s next wine auction will be in October.

Written by Maggie Rosen