A 300-bottle collection of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, spanning every year from 1981 to 2005, was the top lot in a two-day Hong Kong auction that raised HK$59.5 million ($7.6 million).
The sale ended last night with 547 lots successful, 96 percent of those offered, according to an e-mailed statement from London-based auction house Christie’s International. The auction was once estimated to raise as much as $8.3 million.
The Lafite-Rothschild’s HK$4.2 million ($539,291) price, including fees, made it the most expensive single lot of wine auctioned this year. The 25 cases of the Bordeaux first-growth, said to have been kept in pristine condition, sold to an absentee bidder, described as a Chinese private buyer, on Sept. 3, without a hand raised in the silent room.
The price was below its pre-sale high estimate of HK$4.5 million as a slump in financial markets made some bidders hesitant. The region’s stocks have had their biggest monthly slump since May 2010.
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, meeting its top estimate. Estimates don’t include commission.
Wine totaling more than $232.4 million has now been sold by the five largest auction houses so far this year, compared with their combined sales of $354 million for the whole of 2010.