This past weekend, Acker Merrall & Condit shattered the world wine-auction record, bringing in a stunning $24.7 million worth of fine and rare wine at its two-day sale conducted at New York's Café Gray restaurant. The previous record of $14.4 million was set at Sherry-Lehmann with Sotheby's "Millennium Sale" in November 1999.
The single-owner cellar was consigned by the same West Coast collector who sold $10.6 million worth of wine last January at Acker Merrall. Renowned for his discriminating taste and being a stickler for provenance, the consignor chose to remain anonymous to the public, even though he was well-known by many collectors in the salesroom and greeted them personally over the course of the event, held Oct. 20 and 21.
With an average price per lot of $10,686, this was clearly not a bottom-fisher's auction. A total of 24 lots surpassed the $100,000 mark, including a case of the celebrated DRC Romanée-Conti 1990, which sold for $161,325, 44 percent above the wine's first-half 2006 Wine Spectator Auction Index average. A dozen bottles of the classic Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945 sold for $155,350 (up 69 percent from its Auction Index average) and six magnums of Comte de Vogüé Vieilles Vignes 1962 at $149,375.
Standing at a podium overlooking Columbus Circle, auction director John Kapon fielded a litany of aggressive bids from the phone, the floor and the order book, and the event had a 94 percent sold rate. Several determined collectors in attendance appeared to have racked up purchases totaling in the seven-figure range.
Crazy as the prices sound, there aren't many opportunities to snap up a double magnum of Château Pétrus 1921 (for $47,800) or a jeroboam of Château Margaux 1900 (for $65,725).
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