After the extraordinary success of the Sotheby's Lafite ex-cellar sale in October, today's Latour ex-cellar auction in Hong Kong was expected to spark similar enthusiasm. The sale featured vintages from 1863 to 2009, and all bottles were fitted with a Prooftag seal and a label confirming their provenance. During the first rounds of bidding, however, buyers seemed somewhat uninspired, with the 2009, 2005 and 2000 all falling under the hammer at a discount to the Liv-ex Mid Price (our trade-to-trade transaction price, which is generally ten to 25 per cent lower than merchant list prices).
The table below shows a selection of some of the recent vintages that were on offer. If we compare the prices that these 12x75cl cases fetched at auction (removing the buyer's premium of 20 per cent) to each wine's Liv-ex Mid Price, the majority of sales were in line with, or just below, current market prices. This said, many of the older, rarer wines were in strong demand and changed hands at two to three times the price of their auction estimates. The 1863, 1961 and 1945 were among the super-premium sales of the day, having drawn bids of HK$450,000 (£35,240; 1x75cl), HK$1,500,000 (6x150cl; £117,450) and HK$1,300,000 (12x75cl; £101,790) respectively, excluding buyer's premium.