Christie’s will set up a full internet auction facility next year in association with Australian auction house Langton’s.

The two houses – Langton’s is Australia’s premier wine auctioneer – have set up their first joint auction for May next year, to be held in Hong Kong and on the internet.

Langton’s developed auction software in 2002 and has ‘arguably the most efficient and advanced wine auction system in the world’, Christie’s said in a press release.

Christie’s says that it will have ‘full access’ to the technology, and both houses will ‘formalize a visible web partnership by the end of 2005’.

Although the two houses have had ‘lots of small collaborations’ for 15 years, David Elswood, head of Christie’s International Wine Department said, ‘we have finally got a major project which appeals to both parties.’

He added that the deal had the massive attraction that Langton’s are internet-only, and the fact that their auction software was so cutting-edge meant ‘this is a huge door that can open to us. We can use all their technology to set up an internet auction arm.’

The plan is to hold the auction in Hong Kong in May 2006, with the internet side controlled from Australia. The wines auctioned will be rare Australian and European wines.

Written by Adam Lechmere and Stephen Brook