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Sotheby’s claims $1m record

Fifty cases of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1982 have been sold for over $1m in New York, in what Sotheby’s claims is a new record for a single lot at auction.

The lot, going for a groundbreaking sum of US$1,051,600, was part of a consignment from Park B. Smith, one of America’s major wine collectors, and was sold on 18 November by Aulden Cellars/Sotheby’s in New York.

Smith had bought the cases of pristine Mouton from Christie’s in New York for $420,500 in 1997. At that time, they were estimated at $350,000- $420,000.

Jamie Ritchie, senior vice president of Sotheby’s US wine department, said of the $1,051,600 price, ‘I’ve been in the auction business for 15 years, and I have never heard of a lot going for that sum.’

Ritchie said that Sotheby’s could not find a published record of a higher single-lot sum, but conceded that it could exist.

A European telephone bidder won the super-lot after battling others, including one competitor in the room.

Smith’s total 14,000-bottle consignment, initially estimated at $3.1m-$4.8m, brought $5,328,833. He is donating the proceeds to his alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to which he has already donated more than $20m.

Smith, who made his fortune in the textile business, contributed part of his holdings to the cellar of Veritas, a wine-orientated Manhattan restaurant that he and others opened in 1999. Its wine list is 64 pages long.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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