Aulden Cellars-Sotheby's auction of treasures from the personal wine cellar of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, owner of Château Mouton-Rothschild, brought in $2,223,417--roughly two and a half times the $848,000 presale high estimate. The sale, which took place at the Manhattan headquarters of Sotheby's on Feb. 28, was 100 percent sold with 99 percent of the 206 lots on offer exceeding their high estimate.
The spectacular results did not come as a total surprise because the provenance of the collection could not have been better. All the wines had been housed at Château Mouton-Rothschild and hadn't budged since they were bottled. (A selection of other first-growths all came directly from the properties.) Past sales of château consignments have seen winning bids soar far above the high estimates, and this was no exception. For instance, a bottle of Mouton 1924 sold for $15,535, a whopping 2,229 percent above the second-half 2006 Wine Spectator Auction Index.
The evening's showstopper, however, was a jeroboam of the celebrated Mouton-Rothschild 1945 that sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $310,700 (up 442 percent). A never-before auctioned nebuchadnezzar of Mouton 2000 fetched $119,500, quadruple the high estimate. A magnum of Mouton 1949--which the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild once said was his favorite vintage--commanded $38,838 (up 519 percent).
To the chagrin of bidders in the salesroom, anonymous buyers on the telephone dominated the sale. One determined caller, identified only by his paddle number, L093, snapped up vast quantities of the lots on offer, including standard bottles, magnums, jeroboams and imperials--enough to create a mini-Mouton museum.
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