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Acker sets 21st-century auction record

New York auctioneer Acker Merrall & Condit has just completed a US$10.6m auction - the third-biggest in wine auction history.

Acker generated US$10,643,836 (including an 18.5% buyer’s premium) from a single-owner cellar on 27-28 January.

The auction house, an arm of a shop on New York City’s Upper West Side, eclipsed the US$9,760,140 record for an American single-owner cellar Zachys set in October.

Acker’s sale, its 2006 opener, brought it near history’s second-highest mark: Christie’s US$11,290,054 sale in 1997. A 1999 Sherry-Lehmann With Sotheby’s US$14,414,805 sale remains No. 1.

The cellar was consigned by a Californian whom aficionados call a man of rigorous tastes. John Kapon, Acker’s president and auction director, asked that, as is customary, he not be identified.

Of 1,834 lots offered, 1,753 sold were sold. Six commanded more than US$100,000.

Six magnums of 1971 Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (US$105,000 high), fetched US$136,275. One case of 1961 Latour à Pomerol (US$80,000 high estimate) generated US$118,500. Six magnums of 1947 Cheval Blanc, widely touted as the ‘wine of the century,’ was high-estimated at US$100,000 but brought US$94,800. A case of 1962 Musigny, Vieilles Vignes, Comte de Vogüé (US$45,000), was sold for US$73,470.

In 2005, Acker’s 22 bricks-and-mortar and online auctions grossed US$20,881,008, its top year, up from US$18,706,470 derived from 22 in 2004. Acker’s revenues were exceeded only by those of Zachys, in Scarsdale, an upscale Manhattan suburb, which reported US$33,835,286.

Acker holds auctions at Cru, a wine-oriented Greenwich Village restaurant that Michelin’s 2006 Red Guide to New York, its first, awarded one star.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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