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Petrus, Latour Top Sellout $3.5 Million Auction on Asian Demand

October 01, 2011

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Sotheby’s autumn auctions began yesterday with a wine sale in which every bottle sold, fetching HK$27.2 million ($3.5 million) and led by 12 bottles of 1990 Chateau Petrus at HK$338,800.

The auction of vintages from a private American cellar was the 16th straight sold-out wine event for Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, showing the resilience of Chinese demand amid the volatility of financial markets elsewhere. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had its worst quarter since the end of 2008.

The bottles are the first of 3,400 lots of porcelain, art and jewels that New York-based Sotheby’s forecasts will draw more than HK$2.7 billion ($347 million) over six days, testing the strength of China’s market for luxury goods. There were multiple bids on first-growth wines such as Chateau Margaux and Chateau Lafite Rothschild in bottles of three liters and bigger.

“Large format was the major feature of today’s auction and it shows the growing sophistication of the Asian market,” said Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby’s Asian wine sales. Six magnums of Chateau Latour fetched HK$314,600.

Sotheby’s current sale has 200 fewer lots than its April auction in the city, which took a record HK$3.49 billion, compared with an estimate of HK$2.7 billion, the auction house said. The star lot in the spring sale, an 18th-century Chinese vase worth more than $23 million, failed to find a buyer.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti burgundy wines from 1988 costing as much as $10,000 for a standard 75 centiliter bottle will be auctioned today. Also on offer are four magnums of Champagne direct from the cellars of Krug and Chateau Lafite from two members of the Rothschild Family.

Ullens Museum

This evening auction will offer 90 works of Chinese contemporary art from Guy Ullens, founder of Beijing’s largest private art museum, estimated to raise $10 million, anchored by the sale of a work by Zeng Fanzhi that is estimated by Sotheby’s to fetch as much as $2.6 million.

Tomorrow evening, an oil by Zhang Xiaogang from his Bloodline series has a high estimate of $8.3 million according to the catalog. At Sotheby’s April sale in the city, Zhang’s triptych “Forever Lasting Love” fetched HK$79 million with fees, more than double the HK$30 million top estimate.

A highlight of the Oct. 3 sale of 20th-century Chinese Art is an abstract landscape oil painted by Zao Wou-ki in 1968 that is estimated to sell for as much as $4.5 million. Sotheby’s is also offering 36 works by Zhang Daqian.

Oct. 5 will feature the second installment of the Meiyintang collection of Chinese porcelain assembled over six decades by Stephen Zuellig, a Swiss businessman whose family made its fortune distributing pharmaceuticals.

That day will also see 358 lots of jewelry offered, including a ring featuring a 9.27 carat pink diamond known as the Golconda Pink that carries a high estimate of $19 million.

Singer’s Jewels

Jewels and watches from the estate of Hong Kong actress and singer Anita Mui, who died in 2003, also go under the hammer on Oct. 5, followed the next day by the final sale of watches.

Buyer’s premium, the commission added to the hammer price of works sold, is 25 percent for the first HK$400,000, 20 percent for lots fetching as much as HK$8 million, and 12 percent above that. The wine premium is a flat 21 percent. Estimates reflect the hammer price, before premium.

Potential buyers who aren’t represented at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre sale can bid via Sotheby’s online bidding system.

--Editors: Mark Beech, Adam Majendie.

To contact the writer on the story: Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at

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