Auction rooms in Hong Kong opened their doors over the weekend for two major sales. The Acker auction on the 13th and 14th of January achieved a total of £5.6 million, having shifted around 90 per cent of the lots. Bidding was slower at the Sotheby's sale on Saturday, where just 85 per cent of the lots found buyers. The auction failed to match its pre-sale estimate and raised a total of £3.7 million.
Over the last few months we have noted that demand for top Bordeaux has receded. This was clear at the Sotheby's sale on Saturday, where numerous Bordeaux wines went unsold. On average, First Growth vintages from 2000 onwards were sold at a 17 per cent discount to Liv-ex transaction prices (if we exclude a buyer's premium of 22.5 per cent).
Although the Super Seconds have outperformed the fine wine market since June, they also met a cool response at auction. At the Sotheby's sale, Leoville Las Cases, Leoville Barton and Montrose all fetched prices well below their current market value. Winning bids for recent vintages of Leoville Las Cases were up to 53 per cent below trading prices, while those for Montrose were up to 38 per cent below market.
But where Bordeaux's biggest names came up short, DRC continued to shine. Romanee Conti 1988 held on to its value, selling at just under £79,000. At £126,150, a 12-pack of Romanee Conti 1990 was the most expensive lot of the day and sold at a seven per cent premium to its market price.
The table below shows the Sotheby's hammer prices and Liv-ex trade prices of selected wines, including post-millennial vintages of the First Growths. All values are for 12x75cl cases.
Plese note that Liv-ex trade prices do not include merchant margins and represent the prices merchants could expect to achieve when selling wine on the secondary market. Because we are approaching the auction results from a seller's perspective, and the buyer's premium does not go to the vendor, we have used hammer prices for our analysis.