Archive | Quick Results RSS feed for this section

Bonhams 27 May 2010 Auction — Quick Results

28 May

Bonhams LogoLet’s see how the lots I mentioned in my preview of Bonhams’s Hong Kong auction did.  A list of the sale results for all lots is available at the Bonhams website.  All prices below include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium of, I think, 15%, but are exclusive of taxes; all currency conversions are to the nearest whole dollar and based on today’s rate:

Potential Bargains Mentioned:

  • Lot 104, D. Mortet Clos de Vougeot 1990 (2 btls.), Estimate HK$3,100 — Not sold. Either the reserve wasn’t reached or the lot was withdrawn.  Whatever the case, this is no loss to my mind as I said in my preview: “Two-hundred bucks [a bottle] is a lot of money to pay for good but not great wine.”
  • Lot 62, Chateau Beychevelle 2005 (12 btls.), Estimate HK$7,000 — Not sold. Second suggestion in a row that the auctioneer couldn’t entice any bidder, or enough bidders, to show interest in.  Seeing this makes me think that Hong Kong wine auctions may be all about the big names and not so much about value shopping.  In which case, placing a low bid online prior to the auction to see if you can sneak away with a cheap lot or two may be a worthwhile strategy for bargain hunters.
  • Lot 155, Chateau de Fesles Bonnezeaux La Chapelle 1990 (4 btls.), Estimate HK$3,100 — Sold for HK$2,618 (US$336).  This Loire dessert wine sold for significantly below its maximum estimate and at a substantial discount to what the one retailer that carries the wine lists it for.  Of course, you could’ve gotten it much cheaper in 2003 from Sotheby’s, but that’s seven years of cellaring that you didn’t have to worry about at least.

Blockbusters Mentioned:

  • Lot 1, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000 (12 btls.), Estimate HK$195,000 — Sold for HK$166,600 (US$21,392).  A lot of money yes, but 15% below its maximum estimate and cheaper than it can be bought almost anywhere in the world.
  • Lots 2-3, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 (12 btls. per lot), Per Lot Estimate HK$312,000 — Sold for HK$267,750 and HK$309,400 (US$34,381 and US$39,729 respectively).  I’m not sure what accounts for the US$5,000 difference in price between these two lots.  The online version of the auction catalog doesn’t provide any description of the lots in question beyond the year, chateau, and number of bottles, so I can only wonder what was said in the printed catalog about fill levels, label condition, possible seepage, and the like.  The answer may be more psychological than that, though.  Bidders saw Lot no. 2 go for a good deal less than its maximum estimate, they knew they wanted this classic Lafite, and they bid more than intended trying to get it.  Prosaic, I know.
  • Lot 52, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000 (1 btl.), Estimate HK$35,900 — Sold for HK$35,700 (US$4,587).  Great producer, great vintage, still a ton of money for a bottle of wine, especially a singleton.  I hope some rich person bought this to drink.  Still, the winning bidder paid almost US$300 less for this bottle of Lafite than it costs in Hong Kong, which means two things to me: he/she got a good deal in a relative sense and Lafite is very, very expensive no matter how you buy it.
  • Lot 215, Romanee Conti 1996 (1 Methuselah), Estimate HK$585,000 — Not sold. The outliers, both cheap and expensive, did not sell through very well in this auction.  Makes me wonder if the Bonhams’s staff is properly valuing their lots.
  • Lot 217, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 (12 btls.), Estimate HK$312,000 — Sold for HK$380,800 (US$48,899).  Well.  I guess the bidders who didn’t get lots nos. 2 and 3 went a little nuts.

Value Lots I Missed Originally:

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Logo

  • Lots 83-86, Mixed Nicolas Rossignol Lots (12 btls. per lot), Per Lot Estimate HK$3,900 — Sold for HK$3,332 per lot (US$428 per lot).  In my wine auction experience, both live and online, it always pays to keep your eyes on mixed lots if you are looking to buy wine to drink.  These four mixed lots of fine Pinot Noir from Burgundian winemaker Nicolas Rossignol prove the point.  Each of these lots had two bottles per lot of the same six N. Rossignol wines from 2006: Volnay Les Caillerets, Volnay Chevret, Volnay, Pommard Chanlins, Pommard, and Beaune Rouge.  Prices of these wines are all over the board, with some averaging as little as US$17 or so at retail, but others are much more expensive, up to US$50 to $60 per bottle.  What is more, Spurrier in Decanter said that N. Rossignol has “a superb, really exceptional range of 2006s” that are coming into their prime drinking window now.  At $36 per bottle, it is worth to take a chance of these lots at this price.  (Interestingly, lot no. 87, which was identical in composition to these lots, sold for much more at HK$4,165.)