Christie's first wine sale in Paris since the French government passed legislation opening the business to foreign companies generated the highest price for any wine auction held in Paris this year, according to Anthony Hanson, senior director of Christie's international wine department. The Sept. 14 event, at which 987 lots were offered, brought in $977,000, inclusive of the 15 percent buyer's premium.
Despite the high auction total, the sale was only 59 percent sold, a lower than usual rate. Large quantities of classified clarets and crus bourgeois from lesser vintages, such as 1978, 1981, 1994 and 1997, failed to find buyers, as did a rare case of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, estimated at $53,700 to $73,200.
"We're still finding our way," explained Hanson, who added that future sales would be more tailored to the Paris audience.
Nevertheless, Parisians warmly embraced a large offering of first growths consigned directly from the châteaus. Six magnums of Château Latour 1959 fetched $17,962, 3 percent above the wine's average price in the second quarter of 2002 Wine Spectator Auction Index. And an imperial of Château Lafite Rothschild 1982 was snapped up for $5,596, up 19 percent from its index average.
With the exception of a few rarities and vintage classics, prices were somewhat softer in Paris than in New York.
Full-access subscribers can view recent auction results and analyses, upcoming events and the Wine Spectator Auction Index in the Collecting section of our site.
Read more about this subject:
Read other recent auction news:
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions