Alex Ferguson’s Wine, Liu Lead Christie’s Hong Kong Sales

Bottles of Romanee-Conti belonging to former Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson and a record-setting painting by Liu Wei led Christie’s weekend sales in Hong Kong.

After the first two days of auctions, Christie’s sold HK$854 million ($110 million) of wine, and 20th century and contemporary Asian art, according to the company’s website. The five-day spring sales end on May 28.

The Ferguson sale raised HK$29.5 million as wine lovers and football fans bid up prices. Many of the bottles bore Ferguson’s signature or were sold along with T-shirts to capitalize on the popularity of British soccer’s most-successful manager, who led Manchester to 38 trophies in 26 years before retiring last year.

“He’s famous,” said Powell Yang, a Hong Kong-based wine dealer who only bid successfully on two lots because so many others were willing to pay a premium compared to non-celebrity wines. “The prices were 30 percent higher than usual on Bordeaux and on Burgundy maybe 50 percent.”

The most expensive lot in the Ferguson sale on May 24 was a six-liter bottle, known as a methuselah, of Romanee-Conti Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1997 that sold for HK$1.2 million.

The wine auction was followed by Christie’s evening sale of Asian 20th century and contemporary art that raised HK$493 million, according to the Christie’s website. That was less than the HK$670 million sold at Sotheby’s evening sale on April 7 for the same sale category.

The 1998 Liu painting titled “Landscape” sold for HK$21.4 million, compared with a high estimate of HK$12 million. It broke the artist’s record set at a Christie’s sale in November of HK$20.3 million, according to the Artnet price database.

The five-day sale of contemporary Asian art, classical Chinese paintings and ceramics, jewelry, watches and wine is estimated by the auction house to raise HK$2.5 billion.

Ferguson also sold bottles of first growth Bordeaux wines from the chateaus of Haut Brion, Margaux, Lafite, Mouton Rothschild as well as right bank Bordeaux Chateau Petrus.

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