Any doubts about Zachys' ability to pull off yet another auction coup were alleviated in its second foray into the field as an independent. The $2.3 million sale, held Dec. 6—7 in New York, fell within 6 percent of the projected high estimate and was a resounding 96 percent sold by lot, a considerably higher percentage than competing houses have achieved this quarter.
Staged at Manhattan's Daniel restaurant (where auction-goers could partake of a sumptuous $50 fixed-price buffet and avail themselves of the restaurant's Grand Award-winning wine list while precious collectibles went on the block), the 1,470-lot sale witnessed spirited bidding from the floor, the telephone and the order book.
Fierce competition over scarce large-format bottles sent prices soaring over top estimates. A nebuchadnezzar (15 liters) of Château Cheval-Blanc 1990 fetched $20,300 (all prices are inclusive of the 16 percent buyer's premium) and a jeroboam of DRC Romanée Conti 1999 brought in $16,240. In contrast, a jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1982 was a relative steal at $2,900, 32 percent below its average price in the third quarter 2002 Wine Spectator Auction Index.
As has been the case all fall, 750-ml bottles of classic clarets exhibited marked volatility. A dozen bottles of Château Léoville Barton 1982 sold for a record $1,508, up 53 percent, but a case from the 1989 vintage went for $580, down 19 percent. Twelve bottles of Château Meyney 1982 represented good value at $487, down 30 percent.
A consignment of hard-to-come-by Burgundies from Domaine Leroy sent paddles flurrying. Six bottles of Leroy Chambertin 1990 commanded $7,450, up 28 percent, and a case of Richebourg 1990 fetched $10,672, up 18 percent. Bargain hunters delighted in the likes of Daniel Rion Clos de Vougeot 1995, which was snapped up for $754 per dozen, down 32 percent.
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