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Christie's Shatters Auction Record Twice

The legendary 1945 Mouton-Rothschild unseats DRC 1985 as most expensive case of wine

Peter D. Meltzer
Posted: October 2, 2006

In the space of a few minutes, Christie's smashed the world record twice for the price of a case of wine sold at auction. At the house's inaugural evening auction in Los Angeles, held on Sept. 28, a case of the legendary Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945 sold for a staggering $290,000. The crowd barely had enough time to catch its breath before a six-magnum case of Mouton '45 was snapped up for $345,000--the equivalent of $28,750 a bottle.

The latter price is $175,000 more than the previous record holder, a six-magnum lot of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1985 that went for $170,000 at NYWinesChristie's this past March.

Both lots went to the same anonymous buyer, who was bidding over the telephone. Richard Brierley, North American wine director for Christie's, said that there were five telephone bidders on both lots and one potential buyer in the room for the case of 750ml bottles. "In both instances, the bidding started at $55,000 and quickly rose to $85,000. All contenders remained in the bidding until $150,000, with two telephone bidders dueling it out until the end."

The previous record price for six magnums of Mouton-Rothschild 1945 was $100,300, also set in Los Angeles, in October 2005 at Zachys with Wally's. The previous record for 12 bottles of Mouton '45 was $115,500 at Zachys-Christie's in New York in February 1996. A bottle of Mouton '45 fetched $41,125--the all-time record price for a single bottle--this past May at Aulden Cellars-Sotheby's in New York.

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