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First New York Spirits Auction Since Prohibition A Grand Success At Christie's

December 9, 2007 07:00 PM

$304,800 Total Far Exceeds Pre-Sale Expectations
$54,000 Bottle Of the 1926 Macallan Becomes Most Expensive Bottle of Scotch Ever Sold At Christie’s

New York – On Saturday December 8 Christie’s conducted the first auction of spirits to be held in New York since Prohibition.  A large crowd gathered in the Christie’s saleroom at Rockefeller Center to watch this historic moment in auction history, and the total for the 100-lot selection of fine and rare whiskies, cognac, armagnac, calvados and chartreuse fetched an excellent $304,800.

Richard Brierley, Head of Wine Sales, Christie’s Americas, says: “We are delighted that our decision to hold the first spirits auction in New York since Prohibition has been met with such an enthusiastic response from bidders across the world.  The selection for some of the finest spirits sourced from some of the best collections in America fetched a very satisfying total.”

"The sale’s success underscores that legalization of spirits auctions was absolutely the correct decision," said Distilled Spirits Council spokesman Frank Coleman, whose organization supported the change in the law. "New York is the right place, Christie's was the right auction house and the governor and the legislature are to be commended."

The top single-bottle lot was a 1926 Macallan, which sold for an outstanding $54,000 and became the most expensive bottle of scotch ever sold by Christie’s anywhere in the world.  Bottled in 1986 after spending a remarkable sixty years in wood barrel, the bottle was expected to fetch between $20,000 to $30,000.  It was bought by a New York private collector.

Another notable price was realized for the Scottish whisky Superlot: an incredible one-time offering of single malts, vatted and blended whiskies that offered any buyer an instant comprehensive Scotch library.  Sold for $102,000 to an anonymous buyer, the lot included 729 bottles and averaged $140 a bottle for the entire collection.

Elsewhere in the sale, a bottle of straight rye whiskey made from George Washington’s recipe for the first time in 200 years at the George Washington Distillery at Historic Mount Vernon in 2003 fetched $6,000.  A collection of 16 bottles of Erté Cognac also performed well, selling for a total of $36,000.

Notes to Editors:
Christie’s International Wine Department is the leading global fine wine auctioneer, with nine sale locations around the world and a dedicated team of specialists across Europe and North America.  Christie’s remains the only international wine auctioneer to sell on both sides of the United States – and in Europe, the only auction house to hold regular sales outside London.

About Christie’s
Christie’s is the world's leading art business with global auction sales in 2006 that totalled £2.51 billion / $4.67 billion.  Worldwide sales for the first half of 2007 totalled £1.63 billion / $3.25 billion, an increase of 32% by £ and 45% by $ from the same period last year and highest half year sales ever in art market history.  Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service, and international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful.  Christie’s offers over 600 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more.  Prices range from $600 to over $80 million. Christie’s has 85 offices in 43 countries and 14 salerooms around the world including London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Dubai and Hong Kong. Most recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging markets such as China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Dubai, Mumbai and Russia. Christie's also offers its clients worldwide access to its sales through Christie's LIVE™, its unique, real-time online bidding service.

*Estimates do not include buyer's premium

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Images available on request

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