Lafite Rothschild Sets World Wine Auction Record

A collection of Chateau Lafite Rothschild has fetched the highest price for a single lot of wine at auction this year.

The 300 bottle collection consisted of a case of Lafite for each year spanning 1981 to 2005 and was auctioned by Christie’s in Hong Kong this weekend.

The lot fetched 4.2 million Hong Kong dollars (US$539,280), however the collection sold for less than the pre-sale estimate’s high end of HK$4.5 million as a slump in financial markets made some bidders hesitant.

The lot was sold to an absentee bidder, described as a Chinese private buyer, without a hand raised in the silent room. The total sales at auction raised US$7.6 million and 96% of the lots offered were successful (547 lots). The auction was previously estimated to raise as much as US$8.3 million.

Bidders drank glasses of Moet et Chandon Champagne and had macaroons from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel as they competed with others on the telephone and from the Internet for the top items, such as Petrus 1947 that tallied HK$350,000.

Wine totalling more than US$232.4 million has now been sold by the five largest auction houses so far this year, compared with their combined sales of US$354 million for the whole of 2010.

The next auction coming up in Hong Kong is Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Wine Sales, on October 2th and will bring to the market over 820 lots estimated at HK$62.5 – 88 million (US$8 – 11 million).

The auction will feature the sale of Finest & Rarest Wines, including the Ultimate Nine from the Bordeaux Winebank Collection at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The sale will also feature a selection of Lafite from two members of the Rothschild family (estimated at US$1.9 – 2.6 million) that has been stored in the cellars of the Château since production covering the vintages from 1986 – 2007. The Lafite will be sold in 170 lots from their personal collection.

I wonder how many back vintages Lafite has stored and how many more Lafite lots direct from the chateau we will be seeing at auction in the future?

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