For the first time in their history, Paris pawn shops have agreed to take bottles of wine in exchange for cash.

More than 350 bottles with a total value of €60,000 (£45,000) have been pawned – inlcuding a €5,000 Domaine de la Romanee Conti.

The initiative was launched by Crédit Municipal de Paris, the local authority pawnshop – which usually deals in family heirlooms and pieces of jewellery – last week.

The wine is to be stored in the 18th-century cellars under the Crédit Municipal building.

Bernard Candiard, president of Credit Municipal, assured his potential customers that the cellars are perfect for storage of wine, with 80% humidity and a constant temperature of between 12-13ºC.

He hopes to store up to 90,000 bottles here until the owners redeem them.

‘We’ve been amazed by the response,’ Vincent Vogt, communications director, told ‘The most expensive bottle so far has been a 1985 Domaine de la Romanée Conti, that has been valued at €5,000.’

The minimum value for wine is €60, for which the client will receive 50%.

The Credit Municipal has been running for 230 years, and each year receives around 140,000 clients. Around 93% of items are eventually returned to their owners.

Wine that is not redeemed – bought back by its owners – is sold at auction.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux