Tag Archives: auction

Lindbergh Lost Flying Hat Turns Up at Auction

Lindbergh Lost Flying Hat Turns Up at Auction

The first hat to cross the Atlantic ocean – on Charles Lindbergh’s head, as seen above – could be yours at auction this week. Early aviation heroes such as Lindbergh, Alberto Santos-Dumont and Amelia Earhart continue to strike a chord, even with contemporary audiences. It is no surprise then that the auction of the aforementioned long-lost hat owned by Lindbergh is on course to set auction records this week.

The flying hat aviation pioneer Lindbergh lost while doing loop-the-loops over Paris after becoming the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic is to be auctioned in the French capital. This isn’t merely a piece of clothing owned by Lindbergh though because it has tremendous provenance.

The leather and sheepskin cap which Lindbergh managed to lose twice in the space of a week after making history in May 1927, could make 80,000 euros ($88,000), according to Hotel Drouot auction house.

The “Lone Eagle” first lost the hat when he was mobbed after his plane, the Spirit of St Louis, landed at the Bourget airstrip near the French capital on May 21, 1927.

A mechanic handed the hat in to the US embassy that evening only for Lindbergh to lose it again seven days later when he was given special permission to perform aerobatic feats over the city in a borrowed French fighter.

The next morning a woman near Bourget found it in her vegetable patch.

The hat, which will go under the hammer on November 16, has been kept by the same family since. It wasn’t actually identified as Lindbergh’s until 1969.

Lindbergh returned to the US a hero, but six year later was hit by tragedy when his baby son, Charles Junior, was kidnapped from the family home. The body of the 20-month-old was later found nearby.

Why Ferrari 250 GTO Could Set Auction Record

Pierre Berge Library Auction By Sotheby’s: Part Two

As we announced a few months agoPierre Berge, the co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion empire has auctioned off the second part of his library in Paris. The private collection, which was made up of 376 works, is estimated to be the most valuable and has raised five million euros. Under the care of auction house Sotheby’s, rare first editions of classics of 19th century European literature including signed books by French greats such as Balzac, Hugo, Stendhal and Baudelaire.

Two pieces by Gustave Flaubert went under the hammer. The first, was a handwritten manuscript that sees the whole passages of the novelist’s travelogue “Over the Fields and over the Shores”, scratched out. The travelogue that earned 537,880 euros, was an account of his tour of France’s Loire and Brittany regions in 1886. The second was an original edition of Flaubert’s masterpiece “Madame Bovary” that sold for nearly twice its estimate at 190,369 euros.

However, the top earner from the two-day sale was for the manuscript of Stephane Mallarme’s “Noces d’Heriodiade”. The manuscript about the marriage of the biblical character Salome’s mother, sold for 587,720 euros. The sale adds to the 11.7 million euros that had been raised by the French philanthropist last year from first part of his collection. With four more sales of the library planned for next year, the collection is expected to be worth over 30 million euros. The proceeds of the auctions will be given to a foundation set up by Berge with Saint Laurent.

Marc Newson Chest of Drawers

Newson ‘Pod of Drawers’ Sold for One Million Euros

A chest of drawers designed by Apple designer Marc Newson was sold in a Paris auction for more than one million euros, more than twice its estimate.

The Australian-born designer’s “Pod of drawers” was bought by an Asian buyer for 1.019 million euros ($1.1 million), according to auction house Artcurial. The piece was created by Newson a 1987, when he was training as a jeweler.

Newson explained that he developed an interest in furniture design when he read European decorative art magazines left at his Sydney home by his Greek-born grandfather. The “Pod of drawers” itself was inspired by French Art Deco designer Andre Groult’s famous body-shaped furniture titled “Chiffonnier Anthromorphie”, Artcurial said. Newson of course is no stranger to creating desirable furniture, as evidenced by his Lockheed lounge chair.

“Entirely made by hand, the chest of drawers shows the fusion between European decorative arts and his know-how as an apprentice jeweler,” it added in a statement.

Two of Newson’s “Pod of drawers”, with their trademark curved lines made from aeroplane aluminum, are already on display in major museums, one at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the other at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.

All the lots in its “Heavy Metal, 20 Design Masterpieces” sale were sold, Artcurial said, making a total of 2.7 million euros.

1964-alpine-m64-berlinette

Artcurial Sells Iconic James Bond Aston Martin

A slew of classic and vintage collectible cars are set to go under the hammer in Paris, October 30 as Artcurial Motorcars celebrates a decade of its “Automobiles sur les Champs” auction – including the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. The 80 cars that will be up for grabs vary in age, origins and models, with several having appeared on both the big and small screens as well as in comic books.

1964 Aston Martin DB5

1964 Aston Martin DB5

Under the spotlight is a 1964 Aston Martin DB5  – which is a lovely car but not strictly speaking a classic car – that was driven by James Bond in Goldfinger. With an estimated value of €550,000 to €650,000, the car is a rare left-hand drive model that first started out as a “show model” from the 1964 Paris Motor Show. Joining this appointed star of the show are other notable vehicles including sports cars such as a 1964 Alpine M64 berlinette, a Bugatti Type 40 spéciale from 1927 and a Porsche Carrera 3.0L Group V from 1976. Guess which one of these is a proper classic…

1927 Bugatti Type 40 Spéciale

1927 Bugatti Type 40 Spéciale

Those with a love for Italian automobiles will be in for a treat with the 1967 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, a 1995 Lamborghini Diablo VT and even a 1968 Alfa Romeo GTA 1300 Junior in the auction catalog. For those with a more modest budget, the auction will also feature more affordable options such as two Alfa Romeo Polizia, former Italian police cars from 1969 and 1981. Fans of the Michel Vaillant comic books will be more interested in the 1999 Hommell Vaillante “Grand défi” paying tribute to the series, estimated at €40,000 to €60,000. Finally, buyers with even more modest budgets can snap up a 1968 Fiat 500 L, estimated at €8,000 to €12,000. Yes, vintage vehicles aren’t all hugely expensive propositions

Before going under the hammer, the cars will be on display at the Artcurial private garage in Paris from October 29 to 30.

3 Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels Auction Lots

On November 16, the Sotheby’s auction house in Geneva will be putting some beautiful jewelry on the block as part of its Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels sale. As the name suggests, the auction will feature pieces of prominence that are not only rare but also of significance. While the full collection is currently on its way to New York for an exhibition before the auction, there are a few lots that have caught our attention.imperial-russian-necklace-with-bowknot-clasp-hr

From Russia with love, comes two pieces of jewelry that are linked to Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. As two of Russia’s most important and best known leaders, it comes as no surprise that they were in possession of such fine pieces. The first is a elegant diamond necklace that is fastened with a delicate bowknot clasp (above). While it is said that the Empress Catherine II (also known to us today as ‘the Great’) had commissioned it as two separate pieces, the jewel has survived centuries and even World Wars hidden away in the Kremlin. At the auction, the jewel is expected to fetch more than $3 million.super-diamond-parure-zoom-hr

The second of the two is said to be one of the most important parures of antique colored diamond jewels (above) to go under the hammer in the last five decades. The parure once played an important role in ending the Pruth River Campaign, possibly the so-called bribe that saved Peter the Great’s army from a crushing defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Later, in the hands of the ill-fated Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the necklace in its present form was gifted to the wife of the Teufik of Egypt for what is thought to be the birth of the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan.

“These two stunning jewels carry with them a fascinating insight into the luxury and opulence of the Russian court,” said David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division. He added “It is difficult to overstate their rarity and historical importance, and I am thrilled to be able to present them side by side this autumn.”the-sky-blue-diamond-hr

The final piece that we take a closer look at before the sale is ‘The Sky Blue Diamond’ (above) from Cartier that sits in the center. Measuring in at 8.01 carats, the rare fancy blue diamond is one that many diamond aficionados would love to own thanks to its rare hue. With an estimated value of $15 to 25 million, Sotheby’s is waiting with bated breath to find out of the gem will help it set a new world record for a third time in two years. The auction house previously set the bar for auction prices of blue diamonds with the Blue Moon of Josephine that was sold for a whopping $48.5 million or $4 million per carat (mind the currency fluctuations, which have raised the price in USD quite significantly.

The Magnificent Jewels & Nobel Jewels Collection will make its was to New York for an exhibition from November 4 to 6 and then to Geneva from November 12 to 16.

Aston Martin Sells for $1 million via ApplePay

Aston Martin Sells for $1 million via ApplePay

If you ever wondered what the most expensive purely electronic payment was, this ApplePay purchase of a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 might just have set that record. Yes, ApplePay, really. UK auction house Coys’ bid to move classic car sales into the digital age by embracing social networks has paid off, to the tune of $1 million.

That’s how much one classic car fan has paid, via social media platform Vero, to take ownership of a pristine 1964 Aston Martin DB5. What’s more, the final transaction for £825,000 ($1.01 million) was made using Apple Pay – in itself a potential world first.

Rather than simply organize a real-world classic car auction and hope to get people in the same room worked up into a bidding frenzy, Coys joined social media platform Vero and offered a selection of four iconic modern classics for sale: the aforementioned DB5, a Ferrari Dino, a Ferrari Daytona and a Bentley Continental S2.

People could bid on them or hit the ‘buy now’ button instead and pay a pre-agreed sum to guarantee ownership.

To help classic car fans decide if the investment was sound – after all one of the most important aspects of a real-world auction is the chance to examine lots closely and even take cars for a test drive if you’re registered to bid – the company also had a stand at this year’s Paris Motor Show where visitors could see each of the cars in the flesh. But even here, things were a little different as if they had the Vero app installed, they could buy any of the cars immediately.

“The proud new owner saw the DB5 at the Paris Motor Show,” said Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys. “He was overjoyed to see the car of his dreams and didn’t want to lose it… he was keen to quickly get in front of the queue, so a few days later he hit the ‘Buy Now’ button on Vero to guarantee the purchase, leaving two other collectors disappointed in his wake.”

And even at more than $1 million, the buyer could well have scooped a bargain. The DB5 is in the most desirable silver birch paint finish with a red leather interior. What’s more it has undergone a complete ground-up restoration and has been kept in dry storage for the past 20 years.

“Collectors worldwide fight fiercely amongst themselves to obtain the best machines,” explained Routledge. “The ‘Buy Now’ feature on Vero will give informed and savvy collectors a crucial head start in a highly competitive market place. [It] signals a new era for classic car sales.”

You’ve missed out on the Aston Martin DB5, that’s true but Coys currently has a £400,000 Ferrari Dino 246 once owned by Led Zeppelin’s manager, an £800,000 Ferrari Daytona and a £295,000 Bentley Continental S2 listed on its Vero profile. We have a feeling more high-profile sales will be taking place on Vero.

Christie’s Forecasts Realistic Auction Prices

Christie’s Forecasts Realistic Auction Prices

The world has gotten used to ever increasing values for virtually all categories of so-called investments of passion over the last few years. Nevertheless, Christie’s is cautioning that “selective demand” and the global slump in demand is pushing the auction house to seek more “realistic estimates” on their offerings in the coming auction season.

“This year the market is not at the same level as it was one year or two years ago. We are facing a more challenging market,” Guillaume Cerruti, Christie’s president for Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India, told journalists in Dubai.

“To face this situation, the key word for us is selectivity,” he said, announcing two auctions this week in the glitzy Gulf emirate, one on Modern and Contemporary Art and another showcasing Important Watches.

“We want to have sales that are well curated, sales with maybe less objects but of high quality at… realistic estimates,” he said.

Displaying a distinct preference for finding an upside, he did not provide specific figures on the fall in overall sales. Instead, he said that online-only sales “have been a real success.”

“For the first six months of the year, we have sold through our online-only sales of 20 million pounds ($24.4 million) around the world,” a 100-percent over the same period of 2015, he added.

“We’re making sure that we find good quality of works that are well priced to ride through this more challenging period,” said Christie’s Middle East managing director, Michael Jeha.

In an auction on Tuesday of 113 artworks, the highest estimated price has been set at $180,000, far below the $400,000 price tag on paintings sold in March this year. Around 150 watches go up for auction on Wednesday, with estimated prices reaching $250,000.

Among them are two Patek Philippe 18K white gold automatic wristwatches with the Iraqi coat of arms and the name “Saddam”, after executed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein who ordered the watches in 1974 and 1980 as gifts. Their prices are estimated at $10,000 and $18,000 each.

London-based Christie’s, which celebrates its 250th anniversary on December 5, says its sales at Dubai auctions have exceeded $300 million since it opened a branch in the emirate 10 years ago.

Monet Haystack Painting Set for Christie’s Auction

Monet Haystack Painting Set for Christie’s Auction

One of Claude Monet’s celebrated “Haystack” paintings – estimated at $45 million – is coming up for sale at the Christie’s auction house in New York City. If it achieves or exceeds the estimate, it will confirm that Impressionist art still moves collectors.

With wealthy Chinese collectors expressing keen interest in such works, the painting – part of a series of haystack pictures painted by Monet during the winter of 1890-91 from his French home in Giverny – will first be presented next week in Hong Kong. It will then be shown in London before returning to New York in early November.

This canvas, representing a simple cone-shaped haystack at dusk, is one of the rare works in this series to still be in private hands, Christie’s said.

Most of the others are in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the Art Institute of Chicago. This painting, to be auctioned on November 16, was acquired in September 1891 by the Knoedler & Co. art gallery, which brought it to the United States.

In recent years, prices for works by Monet or other celebrated Impressionists have shot through the roof.

The record for a Monet was set in June 2008, when a work from his “Water Lilies” series – “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” – was sold by Christie’s in London for GBP40.9 million ($80.1 million).

Comics & Illustrations Auction By Christie’s

On Saturday, November 19, Christie’s Paris, in partnership with specialized gallerist and publisher Galerie Daniel Maghen, will host the second ‘Comics & Illustrations’ auction of the year. One month prior, a medley of these auction items will be on view in London (October 4-12) and Amsterdam (October 19-24) as a free public showcase before landing in Paris.

The selection of European comics on display spotlights beloved adventurers and heroes such as the unvanquishable Gaul Astérix; the scientist/captain duo Blake & Mortimer; the intrepid sailor Corto Maltese, the boyish, perpetually red-clad Spirou, and the forest-dwelling blue-hued community of Smurfs.

Albert Uderzo, ASTÉRIX, 'Astérix In Spain.' Original page n°16. Estimate: €170.000-190.000 © 2016 Goscinny - Uderzo Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Albert Uderzo, ASTÉRIX, ‘Astérix In Spain.’ Original page n°16. Estimate: €170.000-190.000

Hergé — born Georges Remi — has been part of the popular imagination for over half a century with his ‘ligne claire’ style, and is currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris. His work is represented in the showcase here by a double-page spread from his first published series, “Quick and Flupke,” dated from 1930 (estimate: €90,000-100,000). In addition, an Hergé sketch for the 1957 calendar in ‘Le Journal de Tintin’ spotlights the 12 main characters from ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, seen dancing like mad (estimate: €110,000-120,000).

Edgar P. Jacobs, 'Blake et Mortimer, La Marque Jaune' (The Yellow M). Original page n°6. Estimate: €120.000-140.000 © © Studio Jacobs / Editions Blake & Mortimer, 2016 Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Edgar P. Jacobs, ‘Blake et Mortimer, La Marque Jaune’ (The Yellow M). Original page n°6. Estimate: €120.000-140.000

“I believe that the subject of comics and graphic novels is no longer a niche. Over the last ten years, the demand has considerably grown and many galleries and institutions have organised exhibitions in response,” noted Daniel Maghen of the medium’s new wave of relevance. Moreover, he notes the changing regard is also affected by the nostalgia factor of a grown-up generations of young readers. “I think that when one buys an original page from his [or her] favorite adventure, it is above all motivated by the feeling of a nice memory that is materialized by a piece.”

There will be a special focus — for both the sale and the exhibition tour — on French graphic novelist Jean-Pierre Gibrat. This marks the first time that Christie’s Paris will devote an auction catalog to a contemporary artist. The tome features 17 full-page comics and original drawings, as well as a Q&A with the author, who noted that “the detail is what drives the composition.”

Jean-Pierre Gibrat, 'Le Sursis,' Original page n°24. Estimate: 35.000-40.000 © Gibrat Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Jean-Pierre Gibrat, ‘Le Sursis,’ Original page n°24. Estimate: 35.000-40.000

Gibrat will attend the London and Amsterdam exhibitions and present his work to the public. They will draw from the seven volumes that constitute his celebrated publications: “Le Sursis” (1999), “Le vol du Corbeau” (2002 and 2005), “Mattéo” (2008, 2010, and 2014).

Additional contemporary figures like Moebius, Bilal, Vance, Rosinski, Guarnido, and Loisel are being shown as well.

Christie’s Auctions 108 Rare Michelin Guides

International auction house Christie’s is set to auction off 108 rare Michelin Guides on December 5 in Paris. The guides, some dating as far back as 1900, are set to attract collectors and perhaps food historians as they go under the hammer. The oldest of the lot (and all the guides will be sold as a single lot) was printed at the turn of the 20th century and was published with the intention of providing motorists with as much information as possible. The original guides included information on motoring services such as mechanics and gas stations as well as places to stay and eat.

One edition set to attract a lot of attention from collectors and history buffs is the rare 1939 Guide that was reprinted in 1943 by the American Army. The reprinted guide was used to help soldiers find their way around Normandy beaches after the Allied landings! That is a true story, as far as we can tell. Lovers of gastronomy will be more curious to take a closer look at the 1923 Guide. That marked the beginning of Michelin attributing stars to the establishments listed in its “Recommended Hotels and Restaurants” section.

Nearly a decade later, it developed into a ranking system with the introduction of two and three star categories before being finalized two years later. The rare collection will be up for auction as a single lot with an estimated value of $22,476 to $33,711. Before the collection goes under the hammer, it will be on public display at Christie’s Paris until December 4.

This limited-edition Rémy Martin XO carafe is signed by jury members from the 2015 Cannes Film Festival (Ethan and Joel Coen, Sophie Marceau, Sienna Miller, Xavier Dolan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Guillermo del Toro, Rossy de Palma and Rokia Traoré). © Rémy Martin/La Part des Anges Rémy Martin/La Part des Anges

Guide: La Part des Anges Cognac Auction

For the 10th consecutive year, France’s national cognac board (Bureau Interprofessionnel du Cognac, BNIC) is holding an auction in collaboration with Artcurial, selling 24 prestigious carafes containing precious cognacs, some more than a hundred years old. The “La Part des Anges” auction is an annual event that draws collectors from all over the world. It’s due to be held September 22 in the French town of — where else? — Cognac. Find out more about the auction in this Q&A.

What is being sold in this auction? 

Twenty-four prestigious carafes of cognac have been generously donated by some of France’s top cognac makers. All are luxury items in their own right, both in their physical form and in their contents. The Hine distillery, for example, has donated a bottle of its 1916 vintage cognac in a beechwood presentation case finished with a design by contemporary artist, James Viscardi. Its auction price is estimated at €7,000 (approx. $7,865). Proceeds of the “La Part de Anges” auction are donated to charity. This year, funds will go to “Apprentis d’Auteuil,” a foundation that helps young people experiencing difficulties in their home, school or social lives. This 10th edition of the auction is also being sponsored by Michelin-starred chef, Guy Savoy.

Who can bid in the auction? 

Each year, collectors from all over the world head to this eagerly awaited event, which has become an early fall tradition. A charity gala dinner is also held to accompany the event. However, the auction is open to all wine and spirit lovers, who can bid for carafes live online at www.artcurial.com. Bidders will need to sign up at least two working days in advance. The Artcurial sales office can be contacted by email or telephone:[email protected],  +33 (0) 1 42 99 20 51.

What kind of price do carafes start from? 

Carafes in the “La Part des Anges” auction start from an estimated price of €1,000 (approx. $1,124), for a Rémy Martin bottle. This unique example of the limited-edition jeroboam-sized XO cognac was specially designed for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The bottle is even signed by that year’s jury presidents, Ethan and Joel Coen, and jury members, Sophie Marceau, Sienna Miller, Xavier Dolan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Guillermo del Toro, Rossy de Palma and Rokia Traoré. This lot is a truly exceptional gift, as it also includes a 24-hour VIP experience at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, including the chance to walk the famous Cannes steps for a movie screening.

How much is the most expensive carafe expected to fetch? 

The most expensive carafe is a Hennessy bottle estimated at €20,000 ($22,474). The cognac maker — part of France’s LVMH group — has donated a carafe with an understated appearance, housing an exclusive blend of eauxde-vie from a century-old cellar. The master blender has drawn on the contents of this prestigious storehouse to create an “Edition Particulière” cognac especially for the “La Part des Anges” auction. It promises a timeless blend of remarkable intensity, reflecting the historic savoir-faire of the Hennessy distillery.

Where does the name of the auction, “La Part des Anges,” come from?

“La Part de Anges” means “the angels’ share” in English. This poetic and evocative name refers to a well-known phenomenon in the world of cognac making. As it ages, this French brandy draws flavor from the oak barrels it is stored in to mature. Since the cognac is in constant contact with air, some of the spirit’s alcohol evaporates during the process. This is known as “the angels’ share.” The process also helps cognacs develop more complex and refined flavors.

Paul Cezanne painting

Paris Auction Workers Steal from Dead

A group of Paris auction workers realized an essential truth: the dead don’t miss their belongings and they tell no tales. Some 35 porters at leading auction house Hotel Drouot were convicted in a French court of pilfering thousands of valuable items from the estates of the deceased. To add insult to injury, they had been doing so for years and were hardly low-key about it. Not to worry though, they’ll get the chance to think on their crimes while in prison, which is where some are going.

The BBC reports that the porters saw grave-robbing as an occupational perk and were aided and abetted in their twisted ways by three auctioneers, who received suspended jail terms. The defence team called the thefts “salvaging” during the trial. Hotel Drouot itself pleaded ignorance and supported the prosecution. Amazingly, the AFP reports that even though one of the porters owned a Porsche 911 this only aroused suspicion, not action. It took an anonymous tip for authorities to catch one of the porters in possession of a missing painting by 19th century French artist Gustave Courbet. It was curtains for the rest of the crew shortly after.

How did the porters manage these thefts? It was reported at the trial that they took advantage of their roles in clearing out the homes of the dead and transporting items to Hotel Drouot. They sold the items much later.

Tupac's Catchin' Feelings Lyrics Head for Sale

Tupac’s ‘Catchin’ Feelings’ Lyrics Head for Sale

Just ahead of the 20th anniversary of rapper Tupac Shakur’s death, memorabilia company Moments in Time is selling the original lyrics sheet to “Catchin’ Feelings,” reports the International Business Times.

The song, which appeared on Tupac’s 2002 “Better Dayz” album, will go up for sale for $38,500.

Earlier this year, Moments in Time released a love letter written by the rapper in 1988, in which Tupac revealed his feelings for a girl in his drama class – as well as his talent for writing.

Tupac was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7, 1996 in a drive-by, while traveling in a car with Death Row Records founder Suge Knight. He had attended a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand just prior. He died six days later.

Christie's Auction Sells 19th-Century Wine

Christie’s Auction Sells 19th-Century Wine

Christie’s Hong Kong’s latest vintage wine auction last Saturday saw some 2,000 bottles of vintage French burgundy wine from the storied Maison Bouchard Pere et Fils go under the hammer, its oldest bottle dating all the way from 1864.

From the Meursault-Charmes region, the 1864 vintage sold for HKD134,750 ($17,451) to an undisclosed bidder, far exceeding a top-ranged estimate of HKD80,000. As the oldest bottle in the Bouchard cellars, the wine boasts a pale golden color and a honeyed character.

“Early examples of Burgundy like those presented in the sale are extremely rare, with 16 bottles in our sale dating from the 19th century. The strong results from today’s sale, reflect how Burgundy wines continue to be avidly collected in the (Asian) region,” said Tim Triptree, senior specialist and head of sales for Christie’s wine department.

Another notable vintage, a 1865 Montrachet, also sold for HKD196,000, a price tag much more than the top range estimate of HKD60,000. The remarkable results come after Hong Kong’s abolishment of duties on wine imports in 2008, which made it a gateway to a prosperous wine market in mainland China. An austerity drive in China initially caused wariness in bagging high-end bottles amongst officials, but the market has since picked up.

Gilles de Larouziere, president of the Henriot wine group, which owns Maison Bouchard, had previously said the sale was taking place in Hong Kong because of “extraordinary enthusiasm for great French wines”.

Maison Bouchard Pere et Fils’ vineyards cover grounds spanning 130 hectares, of which 12 produce grand cru wines and 74 grow second-ranking premier crus. Currently helmed by the Henriot family of Champagne since 1995, the French wine producer was originally founded in 1731 and has a collection of around 150,000 bottles to date.

Find out more about the wines on auction via an interview with Christian Albouy, CEO of Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils.

 

Bill Gates classic cars Porsche 959

How Bill Gates Made Classic Car Ownership Easier

Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates may be best known for creating the Windows operating system, his billions of dollars in the bank and his philanthropic work, but his love of fast cars, and in particular the Porsche 959, led to a legal change that has made it much easier for Americans to own an exotic modern European or Japanese classic.

‘Show or Display’ is an amendment to US federal government vehicle standards that permits an individual to import a rare or exotic car that isn’t sold in the US into the country for private use even if it doesn’t comply with United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). And this exemption exists thanks to Bill Gates’ lobbying the government for much of the early 1990s so that he could get his Porsche 959 back.

When Porsche took the wraps off the 959 in 1985, it redefined the concept of a supercar. It had an intelligent four-wheel-drive system, a 2.85-liter six-cylinder engine with two turbos attached to it, 450hp on tap and a 314km/h top speed. It was the world’s fastest production car and nothing could come close to it.

So, it’s little wonder Gates bought one. However there was a catch. Porsche only made 329 examples and wasn’t prepared to sacrifice any of them – after all each was worth $300,000. The US government demanded four examples for crash-testing; Porsche said “no” (understandable seeing as it would have been the same as setting fire to $1.2 million) and the car was banned from import into the country. Gates’ car was impounded by US customs and held for 13 years.

However, today the Porsche 959 is legally permitted to take to the road in the US. At this year’s Gooding & Co Pebble Beach auction, a 1988 Komfort edition went under the hammer for $1.3 million. And if the lucky owner is based in the US, he or she will be able to thank Bill Gates that they’re allowed to drive it.

Gates’ lobbying led to the ‘Show or Display’ amendment. It enables the import of rare cars – usually vehicles that had a production run of fewer than 500 examples – if the car in question “Is of such historical or technological significance that it is in the public interest to show or display it in the United States even though it would be difficult or impossible to bring the vehicle into compliance with the federal motor vehicle safety standards.”

A 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring © Darin Schnabel Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Record-Setting Car Auctions: Concours 2016

“The rise of Ferrari across the board has been a bit of phenomenon of the last 10 years,” begins Peter Haynes from RM Sotheby’s. Not only have the incredibly rare models from the 1950s and 60s rocketed in value but in recent years the prices of even 1980s and 90s Ferraris have jumped significantly — $575,000 for a 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta, anyone?

But is that about to change? “It’s a relatively limited pool of people that want to buy the very high value cars,” says Haynes. “You could potentially argue that Ferrari has been overheated because there have been far too many big Ferraris coming to market.”

A 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Racing Two Seater is one of the stars of this year's Bonhams sale. © Courtesy of Bonhams

A 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Racing Two Seater is one of the stars of this year’s Bonhams sale.

What sends an auction into a frenzy is when a seriously significant car that has been in private ownership for a very long period of time finally comes up for sale.

“There are lots of lovely Bugattis that haven’t come to market over recent years. Lots of D-Type Jags. And now that they are, they are shining,” says Haynes.

And after years of unavailability, a Le Mans-winning D-Type is coming up and it has a conservative estimate of $20-$25 million. “A big, historically significant car doesn’t need to be a Ferrari to make a record price. A Le Mans-winning D-Type Jag is always going to be one of the most valuable cars in the world,” says Haynes.

This 1955 Jaguar D-Type won the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans. © Patrick Ernzen Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

This 1955 Jaguar D-Type won the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans.
© Patrick Ernzen Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

But the D-Type isn’t a solo performer. There is a 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Racing Two Seater ($14-$20 million+) that went under the hammer at Bonhams’ Quai Lodge auction on August 19 (It actually sold for $4 million, narrowly edging the Ferrari LaFerrari at the same sale). Or a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring, one of only 12 in the world if you had upwards of $25 million to spare and attended the RM Sotheby’s sale. It closed for $19.8 million, making it the 8th most expensive car ever sold at auction.

A new order?

And then then there’s the total wildcard. The original Shelby Cobra, the car that Carroll Shelby himself built and owned until the day he died. A car that has never, ever come up for sale and one that represents Genesis verse one, chapter one in the bible of American international motorsports history. A normal Cobra can fetch upwards of $1.5 million. This one could fetch 20 times more. In the end, when the gavel fell, the car sold for $13.8 million, making it the most expensive American car ever sold at auction. It is, by our reckoning, number 21 on the list of most expensive cars in the world sold at auction.

“All of these cars are absolutely capable of entering the top 10, which up to now has been almost exclusively dominated by Ferrari,” says Haynes. From what we have seen, only the Alfa 8C lived to this billing, which is still a big thrill.

The very first Shelby Cobra CSX2000 © RM Sotheby's

The very first Shelby Cobra CSX2000
© RM Sotheby’s

As well as Ferrari fatigue, any possible rearranging of the top 10 is also down to changing tastes. Every year the average age of auction attendees drops as does the age of the cars they covet. This leads to even Japanese models becoming motoring icons and thus collectible.

“We can only guess what our kids may be potentially interested in buying when they hit their 40s,” explains Haynes. “How will they view something like a Ferrari Daytona? They might think it’s very cool or they might think its a horrendous antique not worth the garage space. It’s going to be interesting.”

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Vintage Wine Auction

Care for a vintage bottle for the cellars of Bouchard Père & Fils? Well, the good news is that come September 3, Christie’s Hong Kong will be offering 220 lots of rare vintage wines from Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils. However, should the wines and vintages from the largest vineyard in Burgundy not be of interest, then you may still look forward to several lots from an esteemed connoisseur’s private collection. Joining these lots is a selection of Burgundy wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

According to Christie’s Hong Kong, several of the vintages date back to 1846 and remained “undisturbed in their cellars in the Château de Beaune until they were shipped to Hong Kong specifically for this sale.” The bottles had been left unlabelled in the naturally cool and humid environment found in the cellars of Château de Beaune — an ideal climate to mature a vintage wine. The selected wines and vintages that will go under the hammer next month, have been reconditioned and re-corked before being re-labelled and housed in new wooden presentation cases.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Cellar

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Cellar

Some lots to look out for, include the 1865 Montrachet, 1865 Chambertin and 1846 & 1858 Meursault-Charmes. From the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, comes a Vertical Collection of La Tâche from 1951 to 2008. While wine enthusiasts would be happy to learn about the sale, it comes as no surprise that some would be less confident in sampling the wines that have been stored for close to two centuries. To help determine if the wines are more collectibles for the trophy case or consumable spirits, we picked up an AFP interview with Christian Albouy, CEO of Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils.

The oldest vintage in your auction is 1846. Even with the best possible storage conditions, what impact do all those years have on wine quality?

All the bottles are of remarkable quality, and that includes the 1846 Meursault Charmes. We store our entire collection in cellars (built in the 15th century) protected from light, at a natural temperature range of 10-14°C. The humidity level is a natural 50-75%, which prevents the corks from drying out and becoming porous which would lead to oxidation. We also check our bottles regularly and replace the corks every 25-30 years, which gives us an opportunity to monitor the quality of the wine.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Volnay Caillerets 1889

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Volnay Caillerets 1889

Can the quality of an 1846 or 1865 wine still increase if a buyer decided to continue the aging process, or has it reached its peak at that age?

That’s a very difficult question to answer, but it does seem possible in optimal storage conditions. It’s the oxygen dissolved in the wine which will slowly and steadily change and possibly improve the wine. The main threats to wine conservation are oxidation and the effect of ultraviolet rays from daylight. Red wines are easier to preserve because of their anthocyanin and tannin content. A wine’s vintage is also a very important factor. The content of sugar can play a part, as can the level of alcohol which protects the wine against micro-organisms.

Which appellations hold up best against the passing of time?

In terms of the appellations that can be found in the upcoming sale, it could be argued that the red wines from the southern part of the Côte de Beaune area (Beaune Grève Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus, Volnay, Pommard, and Corton) are in a slightly stronger position than the wines from the Côte de Nuits area. But Chambertin, Romanée and Vosne-Romanée wines also have exceptionally good aging potential. The vinification and bottling processes have a very significant impact on aging potential.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Musigny 1945

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Musigny 1945

The auction, which has been organized in partnership with Christie’s, will comprise 220 lots, including 2,000 bottles of vintage wine ranging from 1846 to 2009. Bouchard Père & Fils is a highly renowned domaine in Burgundy, eastern France, and one of the oldest wine businesses in Beaune, the capital of Burgundy wine. It produces a variety of appellations, including the top Burgundy wines Corton-Charlemagne and Meursault Perrières. The vineyard covers a total of 130 hectares, including 12 hectares of Grands Crus and 74 hectares of Premiers Crus.

This information from this article, was provided by Christie’s Hong Kong Wine Department and AFPRelaxnews. To learn more about the upcoming auction, visit Christie’s.

Top Auction Sales 2015 vs 2016

Stellar auction results from last year and this year continue to inspire confidence in luxury goods as an investment class but a slowdown is definitely underway. The 2016 Knight Frank Report released earlier this year observes that its own Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) rose by 7% in 2015 compared with a 5% drop in the FTSE 100 equities index (Brexit will make the FTSE a less-than-useful gauge next year). The report also notes that classic cars are the strongest performer (+17%) while furniture is in the red (-6%); these figures represent price changes over the course of 12 months to Q4 2015.

This year has been confusing for us to report on so we thought we would bring you the Knight Frank selection of top lots at auction in 2015 (scroll to the bottom), while noting some strangeness and a string of disappointments. The strangeness here is the record-breaking sale of the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, which auction house Artcurial moved for $35 million (pictured top). At the time, various sources (ourselves included) reported that it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction but, due to currency volatility, this has been thrown into doubt.

As the Knight Frank report notes, the 2014 Bonhams sale of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold for $38 million so retains the USD record; the 1957 Scag holds the Euro record at 32.075 million. At 2014 exchange rates, the Scag would have beaten the Berlinetta but not so today. We are now in the position of having two Ferrari claimants to the throne of most expensive car ever sold at auction! The failure of the Ferrari 275 NART Spider to sell in May brought some clarity to the current situation, with experts from every auction house anticipating and warning of a slowdown in Ferrari auction prices and, consequently, in the entire classic car segment.

Look no further than the top lots sold to date for some context. All-time highs were recorded in 2015 for Jaguar ($13.2 million), Porsche ($10.1 million) and McLaren ($13.75 million). The best result we have for this year to-date is the aforementioned Scag, with everything else failing to even register on the newsworthiness scale. This explains why you may not have read anything about impressive auction sales recently.

Picasso's $179 Million 'Les Femmes d'Algers'

Picasso’s $179 Million ‘Les Femmes d’Algers’

In the world of art, Picasso’s Women of Algiers remains the best performer at auction to date, selling for $179.3 million in May, 2015. Records thus far in this year include personal-bests for Jean Michel Basquiat (57.3 million) and Frida Kahlo ($17.2 million), far below last year’s stars Modigliani ($170 million) and Twombly ($70.5 million).

Diamonds also lost their sparkle in 2016, with the Lesedi la Rona failing to sell this year. Given that this is second largest diamond ever mined, its failure to find a buyer (Sotheby’s estimated $70 million but the final bid was $61 million) is lamentable. Nevertheless, the success of blue diamonds at auction last year continues to fuel hope for the colored diamonds subset. As long as Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau keeps buying these, prices look to stay rock-steady.

The Lesedi la Rona diamond from Botswana.

The Lesedi la Rona diamond from Botswana.

Knight Frank 2015 Auction Stand Out Sales

Picasso: Women of Algiers ($179,300,000 – sold by Christie’s, May 2015)

Marc Newson: Lockheed Lounge ($3,700,400 – sold by Phillips, April 2015)

Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight ($13,200,000 – sold by Sotheby’s, August 2015)

Patek Philippe Doctor’s Chronograph ($4,987,383 – sold by Phillips, May 2015)

Blue Moon of Josephine 12 carat blue diamond ($48,400,000 – sold by Sotheby’s, November 2015)

Britain Buys $13.6 million Elizabeth I Portrait.

Britain Buys $13.6 million Elizabeth I Portrait

A defining portrait of England’s queen Elizabeth I has been bought for the nation, auctioneers said Friday, after thousands of donations to a fundraising campaign to keep the painting in Britain.

The life-sized portrait, which celebrates the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada, was being sold by the descendants of Francis Drake — the vice-admiral who co-led England’s defence against the attempted invasion.

Royal Museums Greenwich — a group of four London museums — bought the oil painting from the Tyrwhitt-Drake family in a private sale, Christie’s auctioneers said, after £10.3 million ($13.6 million, 12.2 million euros) was raised.

The “Armada Portrait”, painted around 1590 by an unknown artist, is the defining image of queen Elizabeth in her pomp.

It shows the monarch wearing a gold embroidered and jeweled dress with her hand resting on a globe, while the English fleet enjoys calm waters and the approaching Spanish fleet is wrecked in a storm.

Now part of the national collection, it will hang in the Queen’s House, built in 1616 on the site of the original Greenwich Palace in southeast London, which was queen Elizabeth’s birthplace.

Public Funding

£1.5 million for the painting came from more than 8,000 public donations raised since May, with the museum group putting up £400,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gave £7.4 million raised through national lottery ticket sales, with the remaining £1 million coming from the Art Fund, a charity.

“The ‘Armada Portrait’ is a compelling historic icon, illustrating as it does a decisive conflict, inspiring female leadership, maritime power and the emergence of the Elizabethan ‘Golden Age’,” said HLF chairman Peter Luff.

“This image has shaped our understanding of ‘Gloriana’, the Virgin Queen, for over four hundred years and I am delighted that it will now have such an appropriate permanent home in Greenwich.”

The painting was first recorded as being owned by the Drake family in 1775 and it is the first time it has been sold.

Safeguarding the Future

Drake conducted the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition between 1577 and 1580 and led the famous 1587 “Singeing of the King of Spain’s Beard” raid on Cadiz.

A representative of the Tyrwhitt-Drake family said the painting had been “safeguarded for future generations” and could now be seen “in the context of our nation’s great history”.

Two other surviving versions of the painting exist: one at the National Portrait Gallery in London and the other at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, southeast England, though the one connected to Drake is considered the most significant.