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US auction scene ‘resurgent’, says Acker

The US wine auction scene staged a revival in the first half of 2012, buoyed by the emergence of Chicago as an alternative location for sales, according to Acker Merrall & Condit.

The US wine auction business recorded total sales of US$46m in the first half of 2012, which it said consolidated its position as the world’s leading wine auction house and put it more than 32% ahead of its nearest competitor.

In the process, it said some 537 world records were broken, more than half of them by wines from Burgundy and 29 by Domaine de la Romanée Conti alone.

DRC remained the auction house’s most significant name, accounting for less than 3% of lots at Acker sales, but taking a 15.5% share of total receipts and making up 27.5% of all top 10 lots at the company’s auctions.

The gap in trade between Asia and the US narrowed considerably, with the US responsible for US$21m in revenues in the first half of 2012, compared to Asia at US$25m; in 2011, Asia took US$68m and the US accounted for US$41m.

‘The emergence of Chicago as a viable second market for live auction has added to the resurgence of the US market, increasing the global nature of the US auctions,’ Acker said.

‘As Hong Kong auctions remain more concentrated amongst China’s “big four” – the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, US auctions are attracting a more international clientele.’

Acker acquired a presence in Chicago last year when it bought boutique wine auction house Edward Roberts.

Company CEO John Kapon said: ‘The first half of 2012 proved that the interest and desire for the finest and rarest wines remains strong as demand continues to fuel the growth of the market around the world.’

Acker’s autumn season begins with sales in the US on 8 September and Hong Kong on 21-22 September.

Written by Richard Woodard

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