Christie’s first Chinese baijiu sale nets US$3.6 m

Christie’s first dedicated Chinese baijiu sale featuring the country’s best known brand, Moutai, raised more than RMB 25.5 million (US$3.68m) last month, representing 78% of the total lots sold.

12 bottles of Fei Tian Moutai 1980 were sold for RMB660,000

The top lot of the sale were 12 bottles of Fei Tian Moutai 1980, which sold for RMB660,000 (US$95,378) at the auction held in Shanghai on 21 September.

Fei Tian is a symbol that Moutai started using on its labelling in 1959 for the export market. In 1980, it was used in bottle formats of 540ml, 500ml, 270ml, 200ml and 140ml, according to the auction house.

The highest per bottle price at the auction however went to a 1957 and a 1958 Moutai. Each was sold for RMB 600,000 (US$86,707), doubling its high estimate of RMB 300,000, according to the published auction results.

The sale results, however, are considered lacklustre considering Moutai’s sought-after demand in mainland China and high investment returns for collectors.

In an earlier interview with dbHK, Song Shuyu, secretary-general of China Alcoholic Drinks Association, commented that Moutai is simply the most collected liquor brand in China ahead of blue-chip wines or single malt whisky.

The most expensive bottle of baijiu auctioned so far is a 1935 Lay Mau that was sold for RMB 10 million (US$1.46 million) in Guizhou, Moutai’s home base, in 2011.

Earlier this year, in July, a bottle of 80-year-old Moutai, made by Kweichow Moutai in 1940, was auctioned in China for a record RMB 1.97 million (US$294,345).

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