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Christie’s Duke sale makes three times estimate

One of the highest prices ever realised for an American cellar at auction was taken by Christie's in Manhattan last week.

Christie’s sold all 245 lots of Doris Duke’s wine holdings on June 4 for US$3,755,711 – triple the presale estimate. The vintages ranged from 1904 to 1934.

The highest price fetched was US$111,625 for a dozen bottles of 1934 Romanée-Conti, estimated at US$35,000 to US$50,000.

Prices varied among sequential lots, with two 12-bottle lots of 1929 Les Gaudichots (now La Tâche), estimated at US$9,000 to US$14,000, each fetching US$88,125; a third lot went for US$76,375.

Two case lots of 1929 Château d’Yquem, priced at US$9,500 to US$13,000, each hammered home at US$72,850. Four six-bottle lots of 1934 Romanée-Conti, valued at US$17,000 to US$24,000, each generated US$56,400.

A jeroboam of 1928 Louis Roederer, English Cuvée, brut, priced at US$350 to US$500, found US$3,500. A hand-blown virtual jeroboam of 1918 Château Latour, valued at US$3,500 to US$5,000, grossed US$12,000. Six lots of 1929 Château Haut-Brion, booked at US$4,000 to US$6,000, went for US$12,000 and US$13,000. A 1929 Château Talbot, posted at US$400 to US$500, found US$1,300.

A pitched back-and-forth battle for three bottles of 1921 Dom Pérignon, that Champagne’s first commercial vintage, drove the bidding past the US$1,500 to US$2,200 estimate to a hammer price of US$21,000.

NB US$1.00 = €0.812

Written by Howard G Goldberg

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