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Auction records broken as sale makes nearly $8m

Eight auction records were broken and nearly US$8m was spent on Saturday as bidding went through the roof at Sotheby’s New York sale.

The highlight of the US$7.8m (£4.2m) sale saw a double magnum of 1865 Château Lafite go for $111,625 (£59,485) – nearly triple its original estimate of $40,000.

According to Sotheby’s, eight of the ten priciest lots broke auction records on 20 May. The sale was the second-largest in the history of the auction house.

The 8,500-bottle collection belonged to businessman and collector, Russell H Frye. Sotheby’s had valued the 1,219-lot cellar at $3.5m to $5.1m (£1.9 to £2.7m).

The sale beat the $6.1m (£3.2m) generated in 1997 by the sale of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s collection, but trailed the $14.4m (£7.7m) raised in the 1999 millennium sale held jointly with Sherry-Lehmann.

More than 76% of the lots were sold over their high estimates, and 99% of the catalogue was sold.

Further highlights from the sale included a case of 1989 Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti going for $111,625 (£59,348) and two magnums of 1947 Cheval-Blanc making $105,750 (£56,213). Both lots had an original estimate of $50,000 (£26,578).

As for American wines, Sotheby’s said records were also set by a case of 1974 Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which went for $19,975, (£10,616) and two six-bottle lots of 1994 Maya Dalle Valle each generating $4,406 (£2,342). All three lots more than doubled their estimates.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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