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Sotheby’s claims auction record with DRC ‘super lot’

Sotheby's has sold a 114-bottle 'super lot' of DRC Romanee-Conti wines for more than US$1.5m in Hong Kong, reinforcing collectors' thirst for top Burgundy and setting a new auction record.

The cache of wines, including six bottles from each vintage between 1992 and 2010 inclusive, was sold in Hong Kong to an unnamed Asia-based collector for HK$12.56m (US$1.6m) at the weekend.

That marks a world record auction price for a single wine lot, according to Sotheby’s, which pressed ahead with its auction despite pro-democracy protests across Hong Kong.

‘The Romanee-Conti super lot presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ said Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby’s wine division in Asia. Its new owner effectively paid close to HK$14,000 per standard glass of wine for the collection.

Sotheby’s had expected the DRC bottles to fetch up to HK$20m. The eventual price tag was only just ahead of the pre-sale low estimate of HK$12m.

But, the sale – and the auction as a whole – was another display of buyers’ thirst for certain key Burgundy estates.

Sixty-six magnums of Henri Jayer wines were also included in the Sotheby’s sale. They fetched a combined HK$8.2m, albeit against a pre-sale high estimate of HK$8.8m.

Top sellers included a six-magnum lot of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux 1990, which sold to a US-based buyer for HK$1.16m (high e: HK$1.4m). Another six magnums of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux 1988 sold for HK$673,750 (high e: HK$700,000).

All the Jayer wines were sourced from the cellar of Netscape founder James Clark. Sotheby’s will sell a second selection of Clark’s wines, focusing on Italy and the Rhone, in New York on 15 November.

In total, the Sotheby’s’ autumn Hong Kong wine auction fetched HK$45.7m (US$5.9m), and was 96% sold by lot and 99.5% sold by value.

Written by Chris Mercer

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