Log In / Join Now

Sotheby's Edges Christie's by a Nose in 1999 Wine Sales


Peter D. Meltzer
Posted: December 27, 1999

For the first time ever, Sotheby's wine department has reported a higher aggregate total than Christie's. Sotheby's 1999 worldwide wine auction sales equaled $52.3 million, compared to $51.5 million for Christie's -- a difference of only 1.6 percent.

Christie's, historically the front-runner in the fine wine field, maintained its traditional lead in the United Kingdom with $22.7 million in sales, an increase of 6 percent over 1998. Sotheby's London sales totaled $15 million, up 11.5 percent.

But in the United States, thanks to a phenomenal 227 percent rise in sales (due largely to the record $14.4 million "Millennium Sale" in New York), Sotheby's emerged as the clear winner.

Sotheby's grossed $37.3 million in the United States, including the six New York auctions conducted with former retail partner Sherry-Lehmann, which totaled $29.5 million. Zachys-Christie's (Scarsdale, N.Y., wine retailer Zachys partners with Christie's in all its U.S. sales) recorded $22.1 million in overall U.S. revenues.

For the first time since New York legalized wine auctions, five years ago, it overtook London in aggregate sales. With year-end results still to come from Acker Merrall & Condit and Phillips International Auctioneers, New York's combined auction take -- from Morrell & Co., Zachys-Christie's and Sherry-Lehmann with Sotheby's -- already exceeds $53 million, compared to London's $37 million. In 1994, New York auctioned just under $11 million worth of wine.

# # #

For auction analysis and quarterly results, full-access subscribers can check the Wine Auctions section of our Web site.

For recent auction news:

  • Nov. 29, 1999
    Sotheby's and Sherry-Lehmann Split

  • Nov. 22, 1999
    Millennial Auction Tops $14 Million

  • Nov. 17, 1999
    LVMH Acquires Phillips International Auctioneers

  • Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

    Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
    To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

    WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.