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FOOD, WINE & TRAVEL
Christie's Announces First in a Series of Online-Exclusive Sales Beginning with Fine & Rare Wines on August 6th
August 1, 2012  | 

Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, is pleased to announce it will launch its first online-exclusive sale for a global collecting category this summer with Signature Cellars, an auction of fine and rare wines. As the first sale in a planned series of online-only auctions that will run in parallel to the company’s traditional saleroom-based auctions, the launch marks the next major step in the firm’s market-leading global e-commerce strategy. Signature Cellars will open for bidding on August 6 and run through August 20. All browsing and bidding for individual lots will be done completely online, with the click of a mouse.

Christie’s launch of globally accessible, online-exclusive auctions builds on the success of two very successful pilot sales conducted last fall and earlier this spring. The online-only component of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor totaled $9.5 million, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $1 million. Similarly, the company’s recent online-only charity auction of couture handbags by Hermès tripled expectations, raising $229,000.

“The success of these two pilots demonstrates our clients around the world are eagerly embracing online-only sales as a regular addition to Christie’s calendar of traditional live auctions,” said Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s International. “Over the past year, we have made a significant commitment to building our e-commerce platform so that we may now support online-only sales on a broader level. With this new initiative, collectors will be able to experience the full theater of the online auction experience year-round through Christies.com.”

As with all of Christie’s auctions of fine and rare wines, Signature Cellars brings together a closely curated mix of blue-chip wines from the old world and the new, along with approachably priced selections suitable for holding or enjoying now. At the top end, collectors will find everything from ‘82 Lafite and Latour to hard-to-source California cult wines from Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. There are also great rarities that will inspire any serious collector looking to broaden their cellar, including magnums of fine Champagne and imperials of Bordeaux, beautifully-aged Port, and a swath of much-loved Bandol wines from Domaine Tempier. Estimates start as low as $200 and go as high as $35,000. The total sale of 301 lots is estimated to achieve in excess of $750,000.

“As a collecting category, wine lends itself very well to a global, online-only auction platform,” noted Scott Torrence, Vice President and Senior Wine Specialist. “Online bidding has been a major component of our live saleroom-based wine auctions for more than five years now, with consistent participation from clients at the highest price levels. As a way of doing business, online-only sales are a very natural progression that provides our clients with even more opportunities to build and broaden their collections of fine and rare wines.”

Wine collectors can browse the sale’s 301 lots of fine and rare wines online on the e-catalogue for the sale at www.christies.com/signaturecellars. Online bidding for all lots opens on August 6 and continues for two weeks. Clients will click to register their bids, and receive updates throughout the two weeks on the progress of their desired lots. Bidding will close on August 20, with each lot awarded to the highest bid at closing time. All payment is by credit card, and bidding registration is open to all clients, anywhere in the world.

Digital Innovation at Christie’s
As a 246–year old company, Christie’s has proven itself adept at embracing innovation while preserving its core business model. In July 2006, Christie’s was the first international auction house to give clients worldwide access to bidding in its saleroom over the Internet, via Christie’s LIVE™; by 2007 the system was available across all Christie’s salerooms worldwide. Since then, Christie’s has continued to invest in digital assets, leading to the redesign of Christies.com in April 2008, the launch of Christie’s iPhone and iPad apps in 2009 and 2010, and the introduction of our first online-only auction in 2011.

For more information:
212.636.2680
www.christies.com
www.christies.com/signaturecellars