$8m Cognac collection - owner fears for its future

A 1795 jeroboam that accompanied Napoleon on his military escapades is among the highlights of a £5m-estimated Cognac collection currently awaiting a new home.

Its £114,500 valuation is 470% more than the £20,000 the Dutch collector Bay van der Bunt paid for the Brugerolle-produced bottle in 1990, according to the UK's Telegraph newspaper - an appreciation of more than 8% pa.

The collection was begun in 1880 by van der Bunt's great grandfather, and also includes a £39,000-estimated Courvoisier & Curlier produced in the year of the French Revolution, 1789.

Van der Bunt hopes to sell the collection, which also includes armagnac, chartreuse and port, to a single buyer, and to have finalised the deal by the end of the year.

But for van der Bunt, there remains a concern that a drinker rather than a collector will buy the collection.

"I fear people will drink them," he told the UK's Observer newspaper.

"This will be more than a pity. It will be barbaric. Just barbaric."

Cognac collection
Cognac: Better seen and not tasted?

The sale's agent, Bart Laming, told the Telegraph: "We are aiming at a wealthy Russian or Chinese buyer, because we think people from these countries are willing to spend their money on this.

"We certainly are afraid that a potential buyer would empty some of them. We will screen potential buyers to minimise that risk".

The world record for a cognac was broken in September 2011, when an 1858 bottle of Croizet sold for $156,740 in China.

These are buoyant times for investors in Cognac, with buyers in Asia flooding the market.

Rémy Cointreau recently announced that its Cognac sales in Asia grew by 31% between April and June 2011, compared with the same period a year earlier.

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