The 2011 auction calendar kicked off in earnest this past weekend, with Hong Kong playing host to three headline sales in just two days. The Sotheby’s Lloyd Webber (LW) auction on Saturday sold 100% of its 746 lots, attracting HK$41.8 million (£3.4 million), whilst the Sotheyby's and Bordeaux Winebank (SBW) sale on Sunday amassed HK$68.8 million (£5.6 million). Meanwhile, Acker Merrall sales on the 21st and 22nd saw bidders splurge HK$84.6 million (£6.8 million) on more than 1,200 lots of premium Bordeaux and Burgundy.
These Hong Kong auctions’ success is yet another patent indication of the Bordeaux market’s current buoyancy in Asia. If we compare auction prices (including buyer’s premium) with Liv-ex trade prices (represented by the Liv-ex Mid Price, our mark-to-market value), we see that buyers in Hong Kong were willing to fork out an average 15% premium for the First Growths.
Twenty-five wines were sold across all three auctions in the 12x75cl unit size, giving us an interesting chance to compare the results. Although the best prices were generally achieved at the Sotheby's and Bordeaux Winebank sale, there was a great deal of volatility in the prices achieved, with all three auctions seeing their share of winners and losers.
Overall, buyers payed 9% above the Liv-ex Mid Price at Acker, 8% above at Sotheby's LW and 22% above at Sotheby's and Bordeaux Winebank.
Of course, the results below include the buyer's premium; 22% at Acker and 21% at Sotheby's. If we remove this and look solely at the hammer prices, we find that the sellers actually achieved around 10% less than the Liv-ex Mid Price at the Acker and LW sales and achieved little more than a par score at the SBW sale.