Alex Ferguson's wines sell for almost HK$30 mn in Hong Kong
A poster advertising the auction of wine belonging to legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is displayed behind a Christies Hong Kong receptionist in Hong Kong on May 24, 2014 - by Anthony Wallace
The wines being auctioned, which are part of Ferguson's collection, are worth an estimated £3 million ($5 million) and include many rare and fine wines, such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Burgundies, and Finest First Growth Bordeaux from Chateau Petrus and Chateau Lafite, ranging from 1986 to 2011 vintages.
Saturday's sale at Christies Hong Kong saw around 90 percent of 257 lots sold for a total of almost HK$30 million ($3.87 million), the auction house said. The firm's pre-sale estimate for the Hong Kong sale was between HK$26 million and HK$32 million.
The top lot, a six-litre bottle of 1997 Domaine de la Romanee Conti, including a card signed "Best Wishes, Alex Ferguson" sold for HK$1,225,000 ($158,001), including buyer's premium, to a bidder in the room.
"We were fortunate in the sense that we had the provenance of Alex Ferguson's name and more importantly, the right wines for the market," Head of Wine for Christie's David Elswood told AFP.
All of the top ten sales at the auction of Ferguson's wines were for Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Elswood said, adding that it is one of the most sought after in the world at the moment.
Six bottles of the same wine from 1999 were sold at HK$1.1 million and another lot of six bottles from 1995 were sold at HK$735,000, including the buyer's premium.
"If you could pick out one wine that was in vogue and in fashion, it would be Domaine de la Romanee-Conti," Elswood said.
The London portion of the auction will see 140 lots go on sale on June 5, and 85 lots will go on sale online from June 9 to 23.
Ferguson retired last year after guiding Manchester United through its most succesful period, winning 2 European Cups, 12 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Inter-Continental Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup.
The fiery Scot started collecting wine after a visit to France in 1991, and admitted he began the hobby as a distraction from managing one of the world's largest clubs.
"You have to have outside interests to distract you from the intensity and the pressure you come under as a football manager," he explained in a Christie's video promoting the sale.
Hong Kong, which abolished duties on wine imports in 2008, has become a gateway to the booming wine market in mainland China. In recent years, the city overtook New York to become the world's biggest wine auction hub.
Other items to be sold during Christie's Hong Kong spring sales include a large Golconda diamond necklace, expected to fetch as much as HK$80 million and influential Chinese ink painter Xu Beihong's work "Eagle", forecast to sell for up to HK$20 million.