Remnants from the cellar of the late Duke of Windsor were among the highlights of Christie's wine auction held in Paris on Dec. 12. The 68-lot collection, which was consigned by a private individual who had purchased the contents after the duke's death in 1972, brought in $167,000 -- about a third more than originally anticipated -- largely due to the royal provenance.
The consignment was rife with 19th-century Cognacs, some offered in large-format bottlings. A magnum of 1811 Cognac, embossed with the image of the comet of 1811, commanded $12,900. A jeroboam of Cognac from the Château de Verteuil, embossed with the wax seal of the Prince of Wales (the duke's title when he was the heir apparent to the British throne), sold for $2,005.
The duke's cellar contained a diverse selection of spirits, including a bottle of 25-year-old Ambassador Blended Scotch, which fetched $1,155, and a bottle of Seagram's Rare Old Canadian Whiskey dating from 1922, which was snapped up for $1,055 -- twice the high estimate. Three bottles of Bacardi rum sold for $400.
Possibly the best buy of the sale was 12 bottles of Gordon's Gin housed in their original wooden case, stamped "H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor, The British Embassy, Paris." They sold for $3,070, midway between the low and high estimate. That works out to $256 per bottle -- perfect for a pricey but princely martini.
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