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Madoff Wine Auction: The Highs, Lows and Major Markups

Even before the first electronic gavel fell, it was clear this was not your typical wine auction. But by the time it was all over, the auction of Bernard Madoff’s wine and liquor stash was more unusual than even some of the hodgepodge content up for sale.

Lot #488 Est. Price $10-10
Photo: morrellwineauctions.net
Lot #488 Est. Price $10-10

What's the only thing stranger than a man with a net worth of $800 million keeping minibar-sized bottles of booze in his cellar? Someone paying $300 to buy the four 2-ounce bottles at auction. Or someone else paying $950 for decanter of unknown liquid.

First the overall numbers: $41,530 raised in total, 54 of the 59 lots sold at prices above the highest estimated pre-auction price. The total amount raised far exceeded the $15,000 to $21,000 the auction house, Morrell Company Fine Wine Auction, expected to achieve.

So what items pushed the final total up? Here's a look at which lots caught buyers attention and which fell flat.

TOP 5 LOTS BY PRICE PAID

#1) Lot 450 - $6,800
Château Mouton-Rothschild - Vintage 1996 (12 bottles)
Pauillac, Premier Cru Classé/Twelve labels are wrinkled.

#2) Lot 447- $2,200
Chateau Lynch-Bages – Vintage 1990 (6 Bottles)
Pauillac, Cinquième Cru Classé/Six labels are lightly bin-soiled.

#3) Lot 471 - $1,500
Tiganello, Antinori – Vintage 1997 (6 Bottles)
Tuscany/Six levels are neck-shoulder. Six labels are lightly bin-soiled.

Lot #450 Est. Price $3,200-3,800 - Château Mouton-Rothschild (1996) 12 bottles
Photo: morrellwineauctions.net
Lot #450 Est. Price $3,200-3,800 - Château Mouton-Rothschild (1996) 12 bottles

#3) Lot 484 - $1,500
Veuve Clicquot, Yellow Label Brut (12 Bottles)
Champagne/Excellent Appearance.

#5) Lot 448 - $1200
Chateau Lynch-Bages – Vintage 1990 (3 bottles)
Pauillac, Cinquième Cru Classé/Three labels are lightly bin-soiled.

#5) Lot 451 - $1200
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild – Vintage 1996 (2 bottles)
Pauillac, Premier Cru Classé/One label is wrinkled.

TOP 5 CHEAPEST LOTS

#1) Lot 438 - $240
Cinzano, Extra Dry White Vermouth (1 bottle)
Italy/Excellent Appearance
Dow’s, Vintage Port - Vintage 1985 (1 bottle)
Douro/Excellent Appearance
Dry Sack, Sherry (1 bottle)
Jerez/Excellent Appearance
Lillet Rouge (1 bottle)
France/Level is 2 1/4” below cork.
Sandeman, Founder’s Reserve (1 bottle)
Portugal, Douro/Level is mid-low shoulder. Bottle has signs of seepage.

#1) Lot 467 - $240
Fontalloro, Fattoria di Felsina - Vintage 1997 (1 bottle)
Tuscany/Label is scuffed.
Rioja, Crianza, Bodegas Valserrano - Vintage 2002 (1 bottle)
Rioja/Label is scuffed.

#3) Lot 446 - $280
Château La Mission Haut-Brion - Vintage 1974 (1 bottle)
Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé/Level is high shoulder. Label is badly bin-soiled.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion - Vintage 1988 (1 bottle)
Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé/Label is lightly bin-soiled, wrinkled. Capsule is badly corroded.

#3) Lot 460 - $280
Inglenook, Cabernet Sauvignon – Vintage 1969 (1 bottle)
Napa Valley/Level is high shoulder. Label is lightly bin-soiled, has writing on it.

#3) Lot 481 $280
Fisher Winery, Chardonnay, Coach Insignia -Vintage 1996 (8 bottles)
Napa Valley/Four labels are missing. Three corks are slightly depressed.

TOP 5 LOTS WITH LARGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUGGESTED AND WINNING BIDS

#1 Lot 488
Bombay, Dry Gin, 2oz. Bottle Vintage N/V (1 bottle)
Grand Marnier, 2oz. Bottle Vintage N/V (1 bottle)
Smirnoff, Vodka, 50ml (2 bottles)

Estimated Value: $10
Sold: $300, or a difference of +2900%

Photo: morrellwineauctions.net

#2 Lot 473
Unknown Liquid in 12-Sided Crystal Decanter
8 1/2” tall crystal decanter with wax seal over cork, contents unknown. The decanter has no markings whatsoever.
Estimated Value: $90
Sold: $950, or a difference of +955%

#3 Lot 495
Dry Sack, Sherry (1 bottle)
Jerez/Excellent Appearance
Feist, Vintage Port - Vintage 1978 (1 bottle)
Douro/Label is bin-soiled
Harvey’s, Fine Tawny Hunting Port (1 bottle)
Portugal/Label is lightly bin soiled
Estimated Value:
$40
Sold: $320, or a difference of +700%

#4 Lot 478
Albariño, Martin Códax - Vintage 2000 (1 bottle)
Rias Baixas/Label is nicked
Crios de Susana Baldo, Rosé of Malbec - Vintage 2002 (1 bottle)
Argentina/ Excellent Appearance
Peter Zemmer, Pinot Grigio - Vintage 1993 (1 bottle)
Alto Adige/Excellent Appearance
Pinot Noir Rose, L. Crochet - Vintage 1996 (1 bottle)
Loire/Two labels are lightly bin-soiled.
Estimated Value:
$60
Sold: $380, or a difference of +533%

#5 Lot 493
Scotch Whisky, Single Highland Malt, 18 Years Old, Distilled in 1990, The Macallan (1 bottle)
Scotland/Excellent Appearance
Scotch Whisky, Single Lowland Malt, 12 Year, Glenkinchie (1 bottle)
Scotland/Excellent Appearance
Estimated Value:
$160
Sold: $1000, or a difference of +525%

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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