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Burgundy collection 100% sold in HK

Christie’s sale of Hong Kong businessman Henry Tang’s Burgundy collection was 100% sold by lot and value at the weekend – though one lot was withdrawn after its authenticity was challenged.

Auctioneer David Elswood at the sale. Photo credit: Christie’s Images Ltd 2013

The sale realised HK$48,052,488 and included lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Armand Rousseau, Ponsot, Leroy and Mugnier. In all the sale exceeded estimates by 60%.

Simon Tam, Christie’s head of wine in China, said: “This single-owner collection sale was comprised of 71 Burgundy producers, many of which were unsung heroes that we wanted to introduce to Asian collectors.

“By bringing these lesser-known names into the market’s radar, the auction helped grow a strong current of the discovery of hidden gems. We look forward to staging more wine sales that share such feature, to broaden the collectors’ vision and to create a nurturing atmosphere for the growth of up-and-coming wine producers.”

DRC dominated the top selling lots – a collection of six Romanée-Conti magnums made HK$1.2m – while Henri Jayer’s Cros Parantoux 1995, 1996 and 1997 and six magnums of 1992 Montrachet from Leflaive added a little diversity.

Not only was the sale completely Burgundy-focused, but all of the bottles bore a Prooftag Bubble Seal, which is designed as a guarantee of provenance and authenticity.

However, some doubts still persist about the authenticity of some lots, rumours which were heightened by the withdrawal of a Methusaleh of 1971 DRC La Tâche.

The bottle was withdrawn after an American lawyer called Don Cornwell, challenged the authenticity of several lots in emails to Christie’s and the FBI.

As well as the 1971 La Tâche, he insisted that a three-bottle lot of 1959 Romanée-Conti (also DRC) was from Rudy Kurniawan as the bottles had “four digit bottle numbers instead of five.

“Except for bottles that have come from Rudy Kurniawan,” he said in a post online, “every bottle of 1959 DRC that I have ever seen, including some Echézeaux and Grands Echézeaux I owned myself, bore five digit numbers.”

Christie’s insisted that it would “not sell any lot that we know or have reason to believe is inauthentic or counterfeit.”

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