Immediately after the Hong Kong government abolished import duties on wines in the budget of Feburary 2008, Bonhams responded by announcing the first auction of fine and rare wines in April of the same year to take advantage of this opportunity to educate and supply connoisseurs and collectors.
In November 2009 Bonhams pioneered auctions of exceptional single malt and rare whiskies, sourced from private owners in Scotland and America. Today (23 May 2012) Bonhams initiated another new category of classic spirits at auction in Hong Kong, for the first time selling a wide range of exceptional and limited edition Cognacs to buyers at the Island Shangri-La Hotel in a pioneering sale which seems set to change the parameters of outstanding spirits available in Hong Kong auctions. Buyers flocked to a packed saleroom to bid and prices were buoyant throughout the sale as Asia Managing Director Carson Chan, New York-based Group CEO Malcolm Barber and London-based Master of Wine Richard Harvey, took up the auctioneer's hammer during a four-hour Cognac, whiskies and fine wines auction which attracted bidders from all over Asia and on the telephone from Europe and America.
Over 50 lots of rare Cognacs and over 100 lots of single-malt whiskies were included in the sale. A complete set of eight bottles of the Courvoisier Erté Collection sold for HK$130,900 against an estimate of HK$80,000 to 120,000; a single bottle of Rémy Martin Louis XIII Diamant sold for HK$113,050 against an estimate of HK$60,000 to 90,000, and a single bottle of Hennessy Queen's Silver Jubilee 1977 sold for HK$95,200 against an estimate of HK$80,000 – 110,000.
One of the most outstanding results of the night was the HK$249,900 achieved for a crystal decanter of Gordon & MacPhail Generations 70-year- old Glenlivet distilled in 1940, twice the estimate of HK$125,000 – 160,000.
"These outstanding results vindicate Bonhams' decision to offer top quality spirits to the highly discerning Asian market. Our first offering of fine Cognacs has really caught the imagination of connoisseurs and demonstrated a huge demand that has not previously been met. Consumers have found it difficult to source rare, limited edition and vintage Cognacs on the open market and we are delighted to have added this area to our regular fine wine auctions. With a plethora of wine sales in Hong Kong, we believe that Bonhams is creating a distinct identity in expanding the range of our sales and we are looking to develop this area further in the future," commented Richard Harvey, Master of Wine and Bonhams' International Director of Fine & Rare Wines.
Wines still provided six of the top ten lots with a case (12 bottles) of Romanée-Conti 1988 selling for HK$797,300, a case (12 bottles) of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 selling for HK$368,900 and a case (12 bottles) of Chateau Latour 1982 making HK$214,200, all within estimates. In total over 83% of the 415 lots on offer were sold with a total of over HK$9.1 million. "In the current uncertain climate, I believe this is a very commendable result," concluded Richard Harvey.
For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to www.bonhams.com.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com