Jay McInerny reports from some of New York’s wine auctions for the Wall Street Journal. The scene at Acker’s sale held at the restaurant Cru puts one in mind to wonder just what it would be like if art auctions were held in similarly “relaxed” settings:
When I returned, things had gotten really raucous, with some of New York’s biggest collectors in the room, and some very serious bottles opened and consumed. There was a jeroboam of ‘71 Dom Pérignon going around, a ‘66 Leroy Echezeaux and even a ‘61 La Tache. By the end of the night, there were plenty of bargains — those left in the room were not necessarily paying attention to the auction. It was hard to hear yourself shout, though I think I may have picked up another lot or two. But the biggest buyers of the night, according to head auctioneer and Acker president John Kapon, were two Chinese phone bidders.
[…] Jamie Ritchie, the dapper auctioneer and senior VP at Sotheby’s, told me, “The market is basically back at 2008 levels.” Here again, much of the action took place on the phone from Asian bidders. Hardly seems fair since both Sotheby’s and Acker are doing several auctions a year in Hong Kong.
Wine Auctions Rebound; Rise of the Asian Bidder (Wall Street Journal)